Finance ministers tackle cooperation among ASEAN countries

By: Victor Anthony V. Silva April 07,2017 - 11:28 AM

LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu–Finance ministers and central bank governors from ASEAN member-states on Friday discussed strategies to build on gains achieved in previous years toward regional financial integration by 2025.

Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Amando Tetangco Jr. said recent global and regional developments provide the ASEAN bloc both the opportunities and challenges in the pursuit of greater financial integration.

“Given this role, the items we’ll discuss today (are) key performance indicators for ASEAN financial integration, the risk monitoring template proposed by the senior-level committee, and other updates on the enhancement of the Chiang Mai Initiative multi-lateralization, which are all geared towards enhancing the region’s surveillance capacity and ensuring macroeconomic and financial stability,” he said during the 3rd ASEAN Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ Joint Meeting at Shangri-La’s Mactan Resort and Spa in Lapu-Lapu City.

Tetangco said they also see the increasing role of financial technology development in the integration process and how it can reshape the conduct on provision of traditional financial services.

“While we encourage innovations, we are also cognizant of challenges related to cyber security,” he said.

The inaugural meeting of the body in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in 2015, as they prepared for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) which went into full swing two years ago.

Tetangco said the body then renewed its commitment for the next stage, which is AEC 2025, and has been instrumental in setting up the direction for the region in the next 10 year and providing guidance on how the bloc can reach the end-goal of financial integration in 2025.

“We established a working group on financial inclusion as we recognized its importance in accelerating financial integration and inclusive growth,” he said.

During the 2nd ASEAN Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ Joint Meeting in Vientiane, Laos in 2016, the ministerial body endorsed strategic action plans for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) 2025, especially focused on key pillars of financial integration, inclusion, and stability.

Embedded into these plans, Tetangco said, are various supporting initiatives on banking insurance, capital market development, capital accounts liberalization, payment and settlement systems, and infrastructure financing, among others.

The group also confirmed its support for the ASEAN integration monitoring activity as well as the ASEAN +3 macroeconomic research office to ensure constant monitoring and surveillance of risks in the region.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, for his part, said this week’s meetings have truly been a testament to ASEAN’s commitment to partner for change and to engage the world.

During the joint meeting, the body was briefed by partner international financial institutions on the global and regional outlook as well as discussed the respective progress in the AEC blueprint and roadmap for monetary and financial inclusion.

Dominguez said they also touched on results of the ASEAN Finance Ministers’ Investor Seminar and amendments to Annex 1 of the ASEAN Charter.
Separately, finance ministers from ASEAN-member states also met earlier on Friday to talk about the progress of the ASEAN finance cooperation.

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