Kimmitt Calls for Caution, not Anxiety, with Sovereign Wealth Funds
BRUSSELS (March 15, 2008) — Deputy U.S. Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt told a Brussels Forum audience today that there is a positive story to be told about foreign direct investment.
“I think that we don't need to be concerned, but we do need to be informed and vigilant,” Kimmitt said. Sovereign wealth funds “are now growing to both a size and number that I think vigilance is required – vigilance to ensure they continue to be the positive force in the global macro-economy that they have been; but vigilant also to make sure that those concerns, that I think people could rightly have, do not lead to investment protectionism.”
Kimmitt, speaking at a panel on the second day of the three-day Brussels Forum, said that the 50-year history of the investment of these funds needs to continue as a commercial endeavor, rather than a political one, and emphasized that transparency on a fund’s purpose, institutional structure, investment strategy, and financial structure would help in that regard.
Sheikha Lubna al Qasimi, foreign trade minister of the United Arab Emirates, said transparency is a two-way street.
“But the clarity of the recipient themselves of what they declare or define as national interest should also be a responsibility equally to the funds themselves…creating an environment where these funds can actually have an opportunity of openness on the other side,” she said. “When you talk about transparency, we're talking about joint responsibility. It's not a one-sided story. It just happened that most people keep thinking with a paranoia about … what they are and the size of them.”
Brussels Forum is an annual high-level meeting of the most influential political, corporate, and intellectual leaders worldwide to address pressing challenges facing both sides of the Atlantic. Participants include heads of state, senior officials from the European Union institutions and member states, U.S. Cabinet officials, Congressional representatives, Parliamentarians, think tank leaders, academics, corporate executives, and media.
Brussels Forum is organized by the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), the Federal Authorities of Belgium & the Egmont Institute, Daimler, and the Bertelsmann Stiftung. Additional sponsors include Fortis, the Ministry of Defence Republic of Latvia, and The Tipping Point Foundation.