Former Philippine President Fidel Ramos said that the time is not ripe for launching a unified currency in Asia in Hainan on Friday.
European countries realized the necessity of European integration some 60 years ago, but it took Europe 45 years to launch a unified currency, said Ramos, chairman of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA) Board of Directors.
Compared with European countries, Asia has a much shorter history in promoting Asian integration and it is a "bit too early to launch an Asian dollar now," said Ramos at a news conference of the BFA 2004 annual conference, to be held Saturday and Sunday in Hainan Province, south China.
The former Philippine president suggested "a basket of hard Asian currencies" be used to settle problems caused by pegging Asian currencies to the US dollar and euro.
"I hope participants attending the upcoming BFA annual conference may also consider the possibility of launching such a basket," said Ramos, stating that the proposal may help Asian countries to solve problems by themselves instead of depending on external forces.
According to Ramos, a firm advocate of Asian integration, Europe, America and Asia are three pillar forces of the world economy and America has formed an increasingly expanded "American alliance" by integrating the North American Free Trade Agreement countries and South and Central American countries.
Against the backdrop of a substantially integrated Europe and America, Asia enjoyed a "bigger potential" in regional integration though lagging behind the other two continents in alliance activities, he said, adding that in fact, Asian integration would be continuously strengthened on the BFA platform.
More than 1,000 participants from 35 countries and regions will attend the BFA 2004 Annual Conference with 67 percent of the participants from industrial and business circles, said the BFA Secretariat Friday afternoon.
(Xinhua News Agency April 24, 2004)