LAPU-LAPU CITY-- The finance ministers and central bank governors of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) reaffirmed Friday their joint commitment to promote economic growth and strengthen financial integration and stability in the region to guard against risks in the global economy arising from possible protectionist policies and volatilities, while ensuring that economic benefits are shared equitably among its peoples.
In a joint statement issued at the end of the 3rd ASEAN Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting (AFMGM), they also committed to remain steadfast in pursuing ASEAN's goals to achieve a highly integrated, cohesive economy that is competitive, innovative, dynamic, with enhanced connectivity and sectoral cooperation as well as resilient, inclusive, people-oriented, people-centered and connected with the rest of the world amid the rise of protectionism and geopolitical developments that could derail the recovery of the global economy.
As such, we shall continue to promote economic growth, financial integration, strengthen financial stability, implement appropriate monetary, fiscal and macroprudential policies in our jurisdictions, and intensify financial cooperation to further advance our region's resilience, the joint statement read.
The finance and central bank chiefs also pledged to deepen regional financial cooperation to realize an ASEAN Economic Community 2025, pursue the creation of an interconnected, inclusive and resilient regional capital market and ensure the efficient development of the Green Bond initiatives.
They also initiated a financial inclusion initiative to deliver more financial products and services to under-served communities within the ASEAN and reaffirmed their vision of liberalizing progressive financial services.
The AFMGM was held following the separate meetings in the morning of the finance ministers, which was hosted by Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, and the central bank governors, which was hosted by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Amando Tetangco Jr..
The finance and central bank chiefs also noted the sustained expansion of the ASEAN economy at 4.6 percent in 2016 amid global uncertainties, and stressed that domestic demand will continue to be a key driver to regional growth, while structural reforms, public spending and fiscal stimulus will enhance investments in the region.
But despite these positive trends, they also cited risks emerging from a rising tendency toward protectionism, the normalization of policy rates, and geopolitical developments, which could derail the recovery of the global economy.
We urged international financial institutions to be vigilant as guardians of the open multilateral system. The normalisation of policy rates may also increase volatilities in our economies. Despite this, we remain committed to promoting closer trade and investment ties between our economies. We recognised the need to ensure that the benefits of growth are shared equitably among our people. the statement read.
The finance and central bank heads also discussed promoting the use of local currency to facilitate intra-ASEAN trade and investments and the ASEAN payment and settlement systems.
In this regard, we welcomed the signing of agreements among Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand on the settlement of trade in domestic currencies, the joint statement read.
The progress of the development and integration of the insurance sector in ASEAN and plans to liberalize international maritime, aviation, and transit (MAT) insurance were also discussed at the AFMGM, along with the liberalization of catastrophic reinsurance to financially arm ASEAN economies and improve their economic resilience against natural catastrophes.
On the sidelines of the AFMGM, Malaysia signed an agreement with Indonesia and completed negotiations with the Philippines under the ASEAN Banking Integration Framework.
The joint statement also cited efforts to continue strengthening the operational capability of the ASEAN + 3 Macroeconomic Research Office to fulfill its mandate of supporting the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM) as an effective and readily-available regional financing arrangement.
In their joint statement, the finance ministers and central bank governors also thanked the Philippine government for hosting the AFMGM and other related conferences held here at the Shangri-La Mactan Resort.
The Philippines is this year's chair of the ASEAN, which is celebrating its 50th anniversary.
ASEAN finance ministers and central bank governors also welcomed Singapore as the chair and host of ASEAN in 2018.
The finance ministers and central bank governors also cited the progress made in enhancing cooperation on customs matters, taxation, insurance and disaster risk financing.
The region's finance and central bank heads also reiterated their support for the ASEAN Finance Ministers' Investors Seminar as an important platform to communicate developments and future prospects of doing business in ASEAN.
Source: Philippines Information Agency