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EDITIONS
 Friday, 5 July, 2002, 20:17 GMT 21:17 UK
Finance chiefs target terrorist cash
Man counts money
The aim is to starve terrorists of cash
Finance officials from 15 European and 10 Asian countries have sounded an upbeat note on the global economy and pledged to crack down on terrorist finance.

Speaking mid-way through a two-day round of talks in Copenhagen, Danish finance minister Thor Pedersen said there was unanimous agreement on the need to choke off the flow of funds to terrorists.

"Everyone wants to take part and share the responsibility," he said.

"Nowhere should people who want to finance terrorism feel that they are secure."

The Indonesian finance Minster, Mr Boedonio, said he would take action to ensure that his country was removed from a blacklist of countries where anti-money laundering rules are lax.

The blacklist, drawn up by a task force set up by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, comprises 15 countries including Indonesia and the Philippines.

The ministers explored ways of improving banking transparency, and discussed means of tracking flows of money around the world.

On the economy, the ministers said the global recovery would gather momentum in the second half of this year and continue in 2003.

Growth in Asia was expected to outpace the rest of the world, although there was agreement that structural reform would be needed to sustain the continent's recovery.

Europe, meanwhile, would benefit from lower inflation due to the rise of the euro against the dollar.

The issue of structural reform is a vexed one, with most European governments favouring strict codes of conduct and global standards of corporate governance, while Asian countries are loath to introduce burdensome legislation which could slow their economic development.

The ministers are being joined by representatives from the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the European Union.

Parallel talks

The Copenhagen talks coincide with a meeting of South East Asian trade and economics ministers in Malaysia.

That meeting will discuss the creation of the world's largest free-trade area which would include the existing 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and China.

Asean and China aim to create the free-trade zone within 10 years.

See also:

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