US officials unveiled new steps on Monday to free up credit for crisis-hit small businesses a day after a meeting of top global policymakers pledged further efforts to tackle the economic malaise.
The US Treasury said it will move to ease a credit freeze to small businesses by pumping up to US$15 billion into the sector.
The unusual effort to buy up securities linked to small business loans aims to “jump-start” credit in the sector, which has been frozen because investors are unwilling to purchase bundled loans that are “securitized.”
US President Barack Obama, discussing the new effort, said it was being launched in response to a situation where “small business owners are really struggling even though they’re maintaining profitable businesses [because] their credit lines are being pulled.”
“This is still just going to be a first step in what is going to be a continuing effort to make sure that people get credit out there,” he said.
The action by the Treasury comes on top of a move by the Federal Reserve to pump up credit for business and consumers hurting from a global credit crunch, with the banking system reeling from massive losses linked to the US housing meltdown.
The move came after finance chiefs from the G20 economies meeting in the UK over the weekend to prepare for a summit on April 2 said their countries would take “whatever action is necessary” to fight the crisis.
But US appeals for governments in other leading economies to pump more public money into economic stimulus packages have been received coolly by France and Germany, which see tighter regulation as the solution.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown said he believed China would agree on the need for new fiscal and monetary measures to tackle the global downturn at the upcoming G20 summit.
Brown was speaking after talks with European Commission head Jose Manuel Barroso to prepare for the summit in London of the leading and fastest-emerging economies, which China will attend.
“I think there will be an agreement with China on the need to reform our international institutions to make them more adequate for the challenges of the times, and an agreement on the fiscal and monetary effort that is needed to get us through this downturn,” Brown said.
In Japan, embattled Prime Minister Taro Aso convened a panel of experts to gather ideas for a new stimulus package that media reports said may total about US$200 billion.
The talks started as the Cabinet Office in its latest monthly report said Japan’s economy was still “worsening rapidly” and “in a severe situation” — the same overall economic assessment as in the previous month.
This month’s report said corporate profits, exports and industrial output were all “decreasing very substantially,” the employment situation was “getting worse rapidly” and private consumption was “decreasing modestly.”
SCHEDULE: The delegation is due to meet with President Tsai Ing-wen this morning and witness the signing of an MOU on bilateral health cooperation in the afternoon US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar yesterday arrived in Taipei aboard a US government plane at the head of a delegation that is the highest-level visit by a US official since Washington switched diplomatic recognition to China in 1979. Azar’s flight landed at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) at 4:48pm, nearly one hour earlier than scheduled, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. The apron where it landed is reserved for military aircraft, the Songshan Air Force Base Command said. The members of Azar’s delegation included HHS Assistant Secretary for Preparedness and Response Robert Kadlec, HHS Chief of Staff Brian
CHINESE FIGHTERS: Beijing marked the US Cabinet member’s visit by briefly sending two warplanes across the median line of the Taiwan Strait yesterday morning President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) yesterday met with US Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar in the highest-level official meeting between the two nations since 1979. “It is a true honor to be here to convey a message of strong support and friendship from [US] President [Donald] Trump to Taiwan,” Azar said during the open portion of his courtesy call to the Presidential Office, which was streamed live online before Tsai and Azar held a closed-door meeting. “Taiwan’s response to COVID-19 has been among the most successful in the world, and that is a tribute to the open, transparent,
ALEX AZAR: The first visit by a head of the Department of Health and Human Services would strictly observe the CECC’s special regulations, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said US Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) Alex Azar is to lead a delegation to Taiwan — the highest-level visit by a US Cabinet official since the two sides cut formal relations in 1979. The plan was announced yesterday morning by the US Department of Health and Human Services and confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA). Beijing has expressed its concerns to Washington, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin (汪文斌) said later yesterday. Taiwan and the US only issued statements saying that the visit would happen “in the coming days.” MOFA said that due to security concerns, it would
‘CROSS-STRAIT CONSIDERATIONS’: Groups said that the Ministry of Education’s policies excluded Chinese and students should not be blocked over political issues The Taiwan International Student Movement yesterday said it would protest today outside the Ministry of Education in Taipei against a policy that excludes some Chinese students from returning to Taiwan amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 17, the ministry has allowed foreign students from 19 “low risk” and “medium-low risk” countries and regions to enter Taiwan. On July 22, it announced that it was relaxing restrictions to include students from all countries and regions who are graduating this semester and on Wednesday it further expanded entry to students enrolled in degree programs. A letter sent by the ministry on Wednesday to universities did