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Pledges of financial support by major donors



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NO. 42

TREASURER

EMBARGO

MINISTER ASSISTING TREASURER RETURNS FROM MEETING OF ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK AT MANILA .

Pledges of financial support by major donors including the United States, Japan and.countries from Western Europe were given at the

10th Annual meeting of the Asian Development Bank in Manila.

The Minister Assisting the Treasurer, the Hon. Ian Viner made the

statement following his return to Australia today from Manila where he led the Australian delegation to the 10th Meeting of the Asian

Development Bank. Mr Viner said continued support from those countries will enable the bank to maintain its activities in the ' '

developing countries of the region.

"It was most gratifying for Australia to see the Bank's work supported so strongly. He said that Australia saw the Bank as a most important aid institution in the region of Asia and the South Pacific. Australia has only recently announced a major expansion in its aid

to the area as- well as increasing its paid up capital contribution to the,Bank to $USll6.6m.

"The Bank is an important source of capital for social and economic development in the region of Asia and the South Pacific. Reflecting Australia's close interest in the region, we have been strong

supporters of the Bank since it was established in 1966."

Australia is the fourth largest shareholder of the Bank, which has amongst its member countries the major developed countries of the

world.

To the end of December 1976, the Bank's total lending to 23 developing countries stood at nearly $US3.4 billion for some 264 projects

covering all the major sectors of economic development such as

transport and communications, industry, electric power, agriculture,

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education, water supply and urban development. About $US900 Million of those funds were loaned on highly concessional terms from the Bank's special funds resources.

Mr Viner said that a very wide range of topics was discussed by

Governors at the annual meeting. In his own speech to the meeting,

Mr Viner made Australia's position clear on a number of issues in the world today affecting the developing countries. He urged improvements

in the provision of aid, particularly in ways that do not add to the external debt servicing burdens of the recipient countries, who are

already experiencing severe balance of payments problems. He referred to the importance of the Bank's activities in supporting projects

which provide basic services at the rural level and suggested that

this effort should be intensified. Mr Viner also noted the internal economic difficulties currently being experienced by developed countrii including Australia, which must be overcome so that their capacity to

assist· development-in the- region- could be expanded. - . ■ '

In his speech Mr Viner made extensive references to the question of Australia's trade with developing countries. He described the

specific measures taken to benefit developing countries in the trade field. Amongst the initiatives taken by Australia was the introductioi of a system of tariff preferences for developing countries in 1966, ·

which was expanded subsequently in 1974. At the same time a facility

was established to help developing countries to sell their products

in the Australian Market. . ·

As a result, around three-quarters of all imports into Australia from developing countries are currently either free of duty or enjoy

a tariff - preference. " "

The President of the Bank, Mr Taroichi Yoshida, who has only recently

assumed the presidency, promised to study the suggestions made by Mr Viner and other Governors in his closing statement at the meeting.

While he was in the Philippines, Mr' Viner visited the joint Philippine

Australia Development Assistance project at Pagadian on the island of

Mindanao in the southern Philippines. Mr Viner inspected extensive

roadworks and housing underway. The project, which also includes ... -irrigation for increased rice cropping and a model stock farm, is

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expected to make an important contribution to raising the living ''standards of people living in the area. .

Mr Viner, who was met by local provincial administrators, said it . was especially satisfying to see the warm friendship shown towards

Australia. The. project area is in a region which has seen military

. activity in recent years from the Muslim minority yet.leaders on

both sides have agreed at meetings with Australian project personnel

these works should proceed unimpeded. A ceasefire is presently operati

CANBERRA

25 April 1977

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