Viet Nam News
HÀ NỘI — Senior financial officials of the 21 APEC member economies and their external partners including international financial institutions gathered in Hội An on Thursday to review co-operation progress on four priorities through the year.
This is the first session of the 24th APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting and related conferences which is taking place in Hội An, Quảng Nam Province. Senior officials spent the whole day discussing a draft joint ministerial statement which will likely be adopted by finance ministers on Saturday.
Speaking at the opening of the APEC Senior Finance Officials’ Meeting (SFOM), Vũ Nhữ Thăng, director of the International Co-operation Department under the Ministry of Finance (MOF), said officials will review the implementation of an action plan for each priority through the year and reflect them in the joint ministerial statement.
The four major priorities for financial co-operation in 2017 include long-term investment in infrastructure, disaster risk financing and insurance, tax avoidance through base erosion and profit shifting (BEPS) and co-operation in the financial field.
“This year’s theme is excellent,” said Morag Baird, principal policy advisor at Global Infrastructure Hub, a G20 Initiative, adding that long-term investment in infrastructure and cross-border collaboration is important.
“On infrastructure, it is really important to understand the risk allocation scheme for the project and how to reduce and mitigate risks which will lead to successful infrastructure development,” Baird told reporters on the sidelines of the meeting.
“There has been some positive work on high risk allocation between the public and private sectors and how to increase private investment in infrastructure,” she said.
Encouraging the private sector in infrastructure investment is one of the major concerns for the Vietnamese Government. This was also a topic receiving great attention from officials at the previous SFOM in May in Ninh Bình.
On long-term investment in infrastructure, in which Việt Nam and other developing economies have growing demand, the discussions focused on addressing the issues of mobilising capital from the private sector, particularly benefit-sharing mechanisms as well as risk mitigation for investors when involved in public-private partnership (PPP) projects.
Officials also held discussions with international partners including the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) about effective project management tools and co-operation in skills training for project managers in APEC member economies.
Also on the sidelines of the meeting, John A Uware, a delegate from Papua New Guinea, said as a young developing economy in the Asia-Pacific region, it wants to learn experience from other economies in the region, particularly on new technology, to foster its growth.
“We want to maximise our relationship with Asia, the fastest growing economic region in the world,” Uware said, adding that Papua New Guinea is in the centre of the Asia-Pacific region and its government hopes to take advantage of its links with Asia.
Papua New Guinea is the host for the next APEC Summit in 2018. Uware said next year’s topics will likely involve technology co-operation and education.
Four key financial co-operation priorities will continue to be discussed at the APEC Finance and Central Banks Deputies’ Meeting on Friday with final drafting of the joint declaration of finance ministers. — VNS