22nd Meeting of the APEC Finance Ministers: Further Financial Integration Ahead
The 22nd meeting of the Finance Ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum was wrapped up earlier this month. The meeting focused on a range of financial and regulatory issues, as well as continuing the work of further integration of the region.
Established in 1989, APEC is an economic forum made up of 21 Pacific Rim countries and which promotes free trade throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
In the official statement from the meeting, the finance leaders “reaffirmed the role of macroeconomic and structural policies to support their efforts to achieve strong, sustainable, inclusive, and balanced growth in the region.” In addition, those in attendance reaffirmed their commitment to the financial integration of the region, as well as focusing on such issues as investor protection, market integrity, regulatory conditions, monitoring de-risking, and financial stability.
Key attendees at the recent meeting included the President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the senior management of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group (WBG), the Secretary-General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), and the Secretary General of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Among the important developments of the meeting was the submission of the Cebu Action Plan (CAP), which is part of the current APEC 2015 theme of “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World”. The CAP intends to help develop a more economically robust, financially integrated, and connected APEC community. The program has four main pillars, these are:
- Promoting financial integration
- Advancing fiscal reforms and transparency (promoting good tax practices, including exchange of information in tax matters, and avoiding tax leakages and tax base erosion)
- Enhancing financial resilience
- Accelerating infrastructure development and financing
Other key initiatives discussed during the meeting included:
- An agreement to cooperate on the exchange of information (EoI), including the automatic exchange of financial account information in tax matters (the Common reporting Standard – CRS) and the exchange of information on request, by means of existing mechanisms.
- The 2015 progress of the G20/OECD Base Erosion and Profit Shifting (BEPS) Action Plan, and the proposed commitments relating to the exchange of information on request and the Automatic Exchange of Information (AEoI).
- Building capacity to address financial crimes (such as tax evasion, corruption, terrorist financing, computer fraud, and money laundering)
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