APEC Finance Ministers to meet virtually

The APEC Finance Ministerial Meeting (FMM) will be held virtually today, ahead of the APEC 2020 Summit slated for December

APEC finance ministers meeting

Photo: VNA

The APEC Finance Ministerial Meeting (FMM) will be held virtually today, ahead of the APEC 2020 Summit slated for December 4.

The joint APEC statement to be published following the meeting is expected to outline core regional initiatives in the wake of COVID-19. Important topics to be addressed are likely to be infrastructure development, disaster risk financing and the digital economy.

With the regional economy predicted to decline by 3.7% in 2020 and the 1994 “Bogor Goals”—long-term regional plans for free and open trade and investment—set to expire this year, APEC finds itself at a crossroads. While APEC has not successfully released a joint-communique since 2017, Malaysia has pledged to facilitate a Post-2020 vision for the bloc during its chairmanship.

However, as in 2008 during the global financial crisis, expect the FMM to eschew its long-term vision for more immediate regional and economic concerns. The digital economy and regional financial reforms are sure to take center stage. While FMM initiatives tend to be non-binding, the pandemic-induced economic uncertainties may create the political will for national governments to enact liberalising reforms that create a more transparent, resilient, and integrated regional financial system, bolstering long-term economic stability and investor confidence.