MACTAN ISLAND, Cebu: Finance ministers of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) on Friday launched the Philippine-initiated Cebu Action Plan (CAP), a roadmap for a more sustainable financial future for the region, which will be submitted for the approval of the APEC leaders at their summit later this year.
Philippine Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima said the action plan is the work of a region facing forward in steadfast cooperation amid complex challenges and opportunities.
“We hope the CAP emerges as the lasting legacy of the Philippines’ hosting. With 21 economies, multilateral institutions, and private sector support behind it, we are optimistic the CAP can be taken in the next meetings as a living body of continuing work in our bid for a more prosperous, financially integrated, transparent, resilient, and connected Asia Pacific,” he said.
The CAP has four pillars: promoting financial integration; advancing fiscal reforms and transparency; enhancing financial resilience; and accelerating infrastructure development and financing.
Under the CAP, economies are committed to work toward more liberalized financial
services and capital accounts across Asia Pacific.
The APEC economies also emphasized how promoting trade and supply chain finance, as well as alternative financing mechanisms in APEC, can boost inclusive growth, especially in improving access to finance for micro, small, and medium enterprises, 40 percent of which are underserved in the region.
In combating poverty, economies seek to leverage financial inclusion strategies to protect the most vulnerable.
Finance ministers also agreed that fiscal transparency and reforms figure in optimizing public investments across the region.
Regional cooperation on taxation and governance reforms will help ensure that available fiscal space is dedicated toward growth-inducing investments, they said.
In a region where more than 60 percent of the world’s disasters strike, with the cost of damages reaching $1.2 trillion in the past decade alone, APEC economies are committed to enhance financial resilience by building deeper financial markets.
Furthermore, the finance ministers are also confident that resiliency can be bolstered through the development of innovative disaster risk financing and insurance mechanisms, and other risk transfer instruments available through the capital markets.
Recognizing the heightened role quality infrastructure plays in a growing region, the finance ministers looked forward to the development of an APEC public-private partnership (PPP) knowledge portal in collaboration with the Global Infrastructure Hub to serve as an online repository of PPP infrastructure projects.
The finance ministers also noted how developing quality infrastructure as an asset class for institutional and long-term investors in the APEC region can facilitate the mobilization of regional savings into long-term investment pools.