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Top APEC finance officials review priorities

Update: May, 19/2017 - 10:04

Senior financial officials of the 21-nation Pacific Rim APEC grouping reviewed the progress of their recent co-operation activities and will submit the outcome of their talks to the Finance Ministers Meeting in October. — VNA/VNS Photo Minh Đức

NINH BÌNH — Senior financial officials of the 21-nation Pacific Rim APEC grouping reviewed the progress of their recent co-operation activities and will submit the outcome of their talks to the Finance Ministers Meeting in October.

The officials’ two-day meeting which ends today in Ninh Bình focuses on the priorities initiated by Việt Nam and approved at the APEC Finance and Central Bank Deputies Meeting in Nha Trang City in February.

The four co-operation priorities include long-term investment in infrastructure; disaster risk financing and insurance (DRFI); tax avoidance through base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS); and co-operation in the financial field.

“This is an important mid-term meeting that reviews the progress of co-operation activities and proposes deliverables to the Finance Ministers Meeting in October,” said Vũ Như Thăng, director of the International Co-operation Department under the Ministry of Finance, who is also Senior Financial Officials Meeting (SFOM) Chair 2017, in his opening remarks.

On the first day of the meeting, officials reviewed the global and regional economic and financial outlooks, discussing risks that the Asia-Pacific region is facing, as well as forecasting regional prospects.

APEC member economies and international organisations (International Monetary Fund, World bank and Asia Development Bank) shared the view that the global and regional economic growth was stable with positive growth momentum that proved supportive to the policy setting in each member economy.

The meeting recommended APEC member economies maintain the current fiscal policy stance, increase investment, especially in human and infrastructure development, while intensifying co-operation in multilateral frameworks.

Thursday’s meeting also reviewed the implementation of the policy priorities including long-term investment in infrastructure and base erosion and profit shifting.

In the discussion on long-term investment in infrastructure and risk allocation mechanism in public-private partnership (PPP) projects for which Việt Nam and other developing economics have growing demand, delegates exchanged views and experience on the formulation of appropriate risk-sharing schemes between the State and investors, on diversifying financing sources for infrastructure investment and effective risk mitigation instruments in projects in specific sectors as expressways, ports and airports.

In the initiative on anti-BEPS co-operation, senior officials discussed regulations and best practices in coping with base erosion and profit shifting, especially by multinational corporations, which often led tax losses. The meeting welcomed valuable support offered by international organisations in promoting compliance by developing rules and standards, especially minimum standards such as country by country reports, transfer pricing documentation, multilateral instruments.

“BEPS is a global issue that needs an overall solution based on multilateral co-operation, while the current prevention of BEPS through unilateral and bilateral measures is infeasible due to the rising number of major multilateral companies with increasingly complex transactions,” Thăng told Vietnam News Agency.

The discussion of BEPS minimum standards at APEC meetings would allow Việt Nam and other developing economies to learn from developed economies how to apply policy tools and receive direct technical assistance, he added.

On the second day of the meeting, officials will review other two co-operation priorities including disaster risk finance and insurance and financial inclusion. The first discussion is expected to help promote APEC economies’ resilience and response to disaster risks, improve their capacity of solving disaster consequences, and reduce the burden of budget spending and risks to public asset.

The comprehensive finance priority looks to discuss and share experience in finance for agriculture and rural areas where micro-finance has not truly developed and access to financial products still faces obstacles since the price and design of micro-financial products have yet to meet low-income earners’ diverse demand.

In addition, to strengthen cross-sectoral co-operation with other APEC forums, the meeting also convened a joint discussion with the Life Science Innovation Forum and the APEC Health Working Group on the fiscal and economic impact of ill health, and with the APEC Economic Commission on financial aspects of the APEC Infrastructure Reform and Development. — VNS

 

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