APEC finance ministers committed to achieving sustainable, inclusive growth

By Staff reporters   October 21, 2017 | 06:00 am PT
Finance ministers of APEC countries have laid out key priorities to be discussed at leaders' meeting in November.

Finance ministers of the 12 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies issued a joint statement on Saturday, committing to using all policy tools individually and collectively to achieve strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.

"The global economy is recovering and the APEC region, with the world's leading economies and many dynamically developing ones as members, remains the driving force for growth," Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said at the meeting. "The progress of our economies should cause us to join hands to maintain a peaceful and stable environment for prosperity and sustainable development."

At their 24th meeting hosted on Saturday in Hoi An, the ministers discussed the global and regional economy as well as APEC's key priorities such as long-term investment in infrastructure, base erosion and profit shifting, disaster risk financing and insurance, and financial inclusion.

In order to promote long-term investment in infrastructure, the ministers discussed measures such as diversifying financial sources and fostering private sector involvement in infrastructure projects.

The joint statement recognizes the need for greater regional cooperation on tax policy and administration to address tax avoidance and evasion by making the system more transparent and fairer. 

Climate change is also high on the agenda as ministers acknowledge the need to improve disaster risk insurance and financing. Meanwhile agricultural finance and enhancing financial infrastructure are seen as pathways to boost incomes for household businesses and small and medium sized enterprises. 

"The Asia-Pacific is still faced with many challenges that require enhanced cooperation in the quest for new drivers of growth," said Vietnam Finance Minister Dinh Tien Dung, chair of the APEC Finance Ministers' Meeting.

The joint statement issued by APEC finance ministers will set the stage for the APEC Leaders Meeting in Da Nang in three weeks.

APEC Executive Director Alan Bollard told CNBC in an interview this week that the upcoming meeting might also decide the fate of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which has remained uncertain after the U.S. withdrew early this year.

The APEC summit, the second hosted in Vietnam since 2006, is a key gathering of leaders from 21 member economies, which account for 3 billion people and 60 percent of global GDP.

The leaders' meeting on November 11-12 will be attended by China’s Xi Jinping, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, who is also scheduled to fly to Hanoi for his first state visit to the country at the end of the summit.

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