Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

Finance ministers set APEC stage

By Luo Jiwei (China Daily) Updated: 2014-10-21 08:06
Editor's Note: The 21st Finance Ministers' Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, or APEC, will be held in Beijing on Tuesday. Finance ministers of 21 APEC economies, leaders of international organizations and high-level representatives of the private sector will attend. China's Finance Minister Lou Jiwei will lead the country's delegation and will serve as the chair of the meeting. Below are excerpts from a China Daily interview with Lou about the gathering.

Question: Against what background is this year's APEC Finance Ministers' Meeting held?

Answer: Established in 1989, APEC is a high-level and most influential official forum for economic cooperation in the Asia Pacific region. It is a forum where issues relating to global and regional economic development are discussed. So it is playing a very important role in the governance of global economy. It is an important platform where economies in the Asia Pacific region conduct dialogue and cooperation on macroeconomic policies, strengthen capacity-building in the financial area and share their experiences. It also sets the stage for the discussion of financial and economic issues at the APEC Economic Leaders' Meeting.

Given the weak recovery of the global economy and new challenges, such as the divergent monetary policies of advanced economies, whether the Asia Pacific region - the engine of global economic growth - can be the first to achieve robust economic recovery is attracting the attention of all sides.

[The meeting] will have great significance in demonstrating to the international community the determination of the member economies in working together to deal with the various risks and challenges and in boosting the confidence of the market.

Q: What are the topics to be discussed?

A: The theme of this year's meeting is "Shaping the Future Through Asia Pacific Partnerships". ... [W]e have identified four agenda items: "Regional Economic Situation and Outlook", "Cooperation on Infrastructure Investment and Financing", "Fiscal and Taxation Policies and Reform for Economic Restructuring" and "Improving Financial Services for the Regional Real Economy".

The macroeconomic discussion will highlight policies and coordination needed to promote a robust economic recovery and sustainable development.

Topics on infrastructure will focus on facilitating interconnectivity within the Asia Pacific region and promoting public-private partnerships in infrastructure.

Discussions on taxation and fiscal and finance issues will include how economies in the Asia Pacific region can use their policies for mid-and long-term economic restructuring, with emphasis on innovation, job creation, green and sustainable growth, development of SMEs and disaster risk financing, among other things.

Q: In recent years, China has been more deeply involved in international financial and economic exchanges and cooperation, and is playing a significantly bigger role. What does China expect the participating countries to achieve at this year's meeting of finance ministers?

A: After 13 years of rapid development, China is now the biggest economy in Asia and the second-biggest economy in the world, and has emerged as an important engine of global economic growth.

Moreover, since it joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, China has opened up significantly to the outside world and become more closely connected with the global economy.

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