Himalayan News Service

New Delhi, July 5:

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has established a regional fund to help member countries in Asia combat money laundering and financing of terrorism. The ‘Cooperation Fund for Regional Trade and Financial Security Initiative’ has been set up through initial contributions by Australia, Japan and the US, the multilateral agency said today. The fund, to run for three years initially, is seeking further contributions by other countries and organisations. It has been set up to support technical assistance to enhance port security (including airports, cargo ports, and containers) and combat money laundering and terrorist financing in developing countries. It will also complement measures under the Secure Trade in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Region (STAR) Initiative, which focuses on protecting cargo, ships, international aviation, and people in transit.

Although open to all of ADB’s eligible developing member countries, emphasis will be placed on those that are also Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation member countries and most at risk “The fund will allow ADB to play a more active role in building regional capacity for anti-money laundering and controlling the financing of terrorism and will help in carrying out APEC’s secure trade agenda,” said ADB president Tadao Chino. “Priority will be given to high impact projects that can catalyse other investment and policy reforms and have a good chance of local or regional replication,” said Rita Nangia, the director of ADB’s Finance and Infrastructure Division, which will manage the fund.