“APEC as a group can help instill global growth amid concerns of lower trade volumes and weakening productivity,” said Peru’s Minister of Economy and Finance, Dr Alfredo Thorne, when he opened the APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting on Saturday.
APEC Finance Ministers are meeting this week in Lima under a week after they gathered in Washington, D.C. for the Annual Meetings of the Boards of Governors of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group. They continue their pursuit to develop financial inclusion policies, tools for disaster risk financing and stem the decline in productivity growth for an integrated and resilient Asia-Pacific Region.
Dr Thorne said that APEC should adapt policies to increase trade and open up economies. This includes opening services, removing trade barriers and increasing productivity.
“We are all committed to structural reforms,” stated Dr Thorne who chaired the meeting. “Despite our differences over which to prioritize – whether formalization of the economy, taxes or budget reforms – we all have a common objective to strengthen productivity and competitiveness.”
“In this changing environment, skills are key,” he observed. “Our economies need to invest in new skills and adapt the labor force to new challenges, particularly in terms of connectivity, digitalization and technology. We need to steer our investment in that direction.”
Ministers heard analyses of the current macroeconomic environment, the policy responses and the future perspectives of the APEC sub-regions and their particular economies. Measured against the global economy, it was reported that the region as a whole outpaces the rest of the world but trade is starting to slow.
“We share the concerns about where the fragile global economy is going and what we need to do to address these challenges,” observed Dr Thorne.
“We need to be sure that these reforms filter through to the population-at large,” he concluded.
Ministers also announced the launch of a collaboration action plan between APEC economies and the Global Infrastructure Hub, which will open opportunities to share knowledge platforms and to adopt the Hub’s tools and resources. This will contribute to the implementation of APEC’s Public-Private Partnership Knowledge Portal. This online repository is a global pipeline of quality, bankable infrastructure projects. It will also help dissemimate best practices addressing contracting, financing, and funding.
Finally, Ministers gave broad support to international tax cooperation initiatives to make prpgress towards a more credible and effective international tax system.
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