Thank you, Deputy Prime Minister Somdy. Taking this opportunity, let me share with Ministers and Governors my observations from the last five years.
When I joined AMRO five years ago, I had thought that my immediate responsibility would be to set up a surveillance institution, and to start to prepare that institution to become an international organization sometime in future. Thanks to your encouragement, AMRO has not only steadily built our institutional capacity in surveillance activities, but we have achieved even more by completing its transition into an international organization early this year. I still remember two years ago, how much your enthusiasm impressed me, such that all members completed the necessary domestic procedures within just ten days, to hold the signing ceremony in October 2014. Without your support, AMRO’s transition would not have advanced so rapidly so as to be completed within my term of office.
You would, no doubt, recall that all members had engaged in intense policy discussions regarding the AMRO Agreement. Key among the many issues was the issue of how to constitute AMRO, and whether to confer on it the status of an international organization. Some of you would also recall how strongly I opposed Japan’s proposal of constituting AMRO based on an administrative agreement, instead of an international treaty. I tenaciously resisted against making any major compromise that AMRO should be built on a robust and solid legal foundation of an international treaty. Only then can AMRO fly equally high as other major international organizations, such as the IMF, the ADB and the ESM. Thanks to your kind understanding and patience, we have chosen the latter way.
In the discussion on other key issues in the AMRO Agreement, I have consistently and strongly argued to aim high for this new organization. For example, I strongly argued to include provisions to protect AMRO’s operational independence, to secure the confidentiality of communication and information, to ensure exemptions from taxation, and to enable AMRO to expand its mandate to take on new functions upon requests from members. I did this, not for my personal gain or for some partisan interests, but because I believe in the potential of AMRO as an international organization. It gives me great 2 professional satisfaction to lay this solid legal foundation for AMRO, upon which my successors can build further.
Allow me to provide some thoughts on the future of AMRO. AMRO’s status as an international organization makes it a potentially valuable platform for its members to leverage on, if they wish to. As Minister Lou and Minister Heng pointed out in the previous session, AMRO’s legal personality gives it independence from its members, and also confers upon AMRO a certain standing among the international community. If members so choose, AMRO can grow to become a good non-partisan platform – an “honest broker” – for its members to coordinate their different interests and find common ground among themselves. Whether AMRO grows to serve this important role depends ultimately on whether Ministers and Governors support AMRO to find its own voice. I understand that, at this stage, some may have reservations – and rightly so, for AMRO has to earn its international credibility and your trust. I would like to stress that having such a platform – a platform created by ASEAN+3 members for ASEAN+3 – can only contribute positively towards advancing the collective interests of all members.
I wish my successor, Ms Junhong Chang and the new management team, the best in meeting the future challenges facing AMRO. I am confident that they are sufficiently qualified, and will give their best in AMRO. I would also ask all Ministers and Governors to extend your generous and strong support to the new management team, so that they can fully unleash their strength and capabilities to take AMRO to its next stage of development.
Before concluding my speech, I would like to express my special thanks to my predecessor, Mr Wei Benhua. I believe that, without his dedicated effort and tremendous patience in early days to lay the solid foundation, I would not have been able to perform the job of AMRO Director for the last four years.
Once again, I thank all Ministers and Governors for your kind and generous support for the last five years that I spent in AMRO. During the remaining days of my term – as a matter of fact, they are twenty four days, including today – I will do my best to ensure a smooth transition in the management of our office.