Apec members must ensure growth improves people's lives: Vietnam PM

HOI AN, VIETNAM - Apec member economies must ensure that growth in their countries improves people's lives, even as they work to keep economic recovery on track in the Asia-Pacific, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc told the region's finance ministers.

The leaders are in Hoi An for the Apec Finance Ministers' meeting from Friday to Saturday (Oct 21). Singapore's Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance Lawrence Wong was present, accompanied by officials from the Ministry of Finance.

"The global economy is recovering and the Apec region, with the world's leading economies and many dynamically developing ones as members, remains the driving force for growth," said Prime Minister Phuc. "The progress of our economies should cause us to join hands to maintain a peaceful and stable environment for prosperity and sustainable development."

Ministers discussed key Apec priorities, such as the promotion of long-term investment in infrastructure; international taxation; disaster risk financing and insurance.

Some measures that were talked about include enabling private sector infrastructure investment to boost connectivity in underserved areas of the region; expanding financing access to foster entrepreneurship; and cross-border opportunities for small businesses.

"We must continue to actively cooperate in Apec towards the objectives of promoting economic integration, innovative and inclusive growth and enhancing the competencies of our small and medium enterprises," said Prime Minister Phuc.

The minister also addressed concerns over low productivity; improving but still underperforming growth; and the impact of rapid technological innovation and climate change in Apec economies, which account for 3 billion people and 60 per cent of global GDP.

"The Asia-Pacific is still faced with many challenges that require enhanced cooperation in the quest for new drivers of growth," said Vietnam Finance Minister Dinh Tien Dung, chair of the Apec Finance Ministers' Meeting.

Meanwhile, the ministers are also working to tackle tax base erosion and profit shifting, while also strengthening disaster risk financing.

Policy actions introduced by the finance ministers will set the stage for the meeting of Apec Economic Leaders' in Danang, 30 kilometres from Hoi An, in three weeks.

Apec, or Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of Asia-Pacific. It has 21 members, including Australia, China, the United States and Singapore.