Yellen moots global cooperation on cryptocurrency regulation

U.S. Treasury Secretary flags need to lower cross-border payment costs in parleys with Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Published - November 11, 2022 08:52 pm IST - NEW DELHI 

United States’ Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman discussed issues relating to cryptocurrency regulation during her maiden official visit to India on Friday, with Ms. Yellen mooting international cooperation to set high regulatory standards for crypto assets and reduce the cost of cross-border payments. 

Cryptocurrency regulation has been a ‘tremendous focus’ of the Biden-Harris administration in the U.S. and ‘a good deal of progress’ has been made in ‘at least dealing with issues of illicit financing through crypto currencies, Ms. Yellen said, but conceded there is still some way to go. 

“With respect to cryptocurrencies, there are some pools where we have inadequate market consumer and investor protection issues that need to be dealt with. But this is an area where we had some discussion in our meetings today, where international cooperation is really important among public authorities, the private sector and public stakeholders need high regulatory standards globally,” she said at an interaction with industry leaders after the conclusion of the Ninth U.S. India Economic and Financial Partnership meeting. 

“We need to take steps to reduce the cost of cross border payments. And we’re very actively working within the context of the Financial Stability Board, the Financial Action Task Force, the multilateral development banks, the IMF and bilateral exchanges to really address on a global basis, the risks and some of the benefits from crypto currencies,” she added. 

The Treasury Secretary, who visited Microsoft’s India development centre earlier in the day, called for stronger trade and investment ties between the India and the U.S., stressing that apart from ‘significant economic benefits’, this will also bolster the two nations’ resilience and national security at a time of global turmoil. 

Ms. Yellen said India was a key part of the United .States.’ ‘friendshoring’ approach to diversify supply chains away from disruptive players like Russia, whose ‘brutal war’ has claimed countless Ukrainian lives and livelihoods as well as exacerbated food and energy security around the world, and China, where forced labour was being used to produce certain solar panel materials. 

Highlighting a $500 million debt finance from the U.S.’s development finance institution to build a solar module production facility in Tamil Nadu, Ms. Yellen said this was the largest such transaction done by the DFI yet and would help diversify supply chains from China which dominates more than 80% of such production globally. Many U.S. firms like Apple, Amazon and Google are now investing in India and Vietnam too, she pointed out. 

In a joint statement issued after the Economic and Financial Partnership meet, the two countries reaffirmed that ‘regular dialogue is crucial to the U.S.-India economic relationship and to advancing global efforts to tackle pressing economic challenges’ and agreed to engage further on a variety of issues, including climate finance and India’s upcoming G20 presidency.

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