Meeting focusses on rebuilding APEC economy

James Kon

Brunei Darussalam’s COVID-19 response package emphasises on supporting businesses, protecting jobs, and maintaining the population’s well-being, Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah said.

He made these comments in his address at the plenary session of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Virtual Finance Ministers’ Meeting (AVFMM) 2020 on Friday.

Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew also recognised the importance of APEC’s cooperation in navigating economies during these uncertain times and towards rebuilding the regional economy.

Acknowledging the forum’s role as an incubator of ideas, he called for APEC to explore pathfinder initiatives or best practices that could create a more integrated and regulated Fintech innovation landscapes in the region, in view of Fintech’s relevance in boosting digital trade and providing innovative financing solutions for micro, small-and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).

Malaysian Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz chaired the AVFMM 2020. Ministers and representatives from APEC economies, as well as international financial institutions (IFIs) and observers such as the Asian Development Bank, International Monetary Fund, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, World Bank Group, APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and Pacific Economic Cooperation Council also participated.

The AVFMM began with a dialogue with ABAC, where the Business Council presented its report on Accelerating Recovery and Reshaping Financial Services in the Wake of the Pandemic.

The report provided recommendations on how policymakers and regulators can enable the financial sector to contribute to recovery and reshape itself to make it more inclusive and effective in making recovery more sustainable.

During the AVFMM plenary session, the ministers shared their economies’ fiscal and monetary interventions aimed at supporting businesses, including MSMEs, and exchanged views on the role of digitalisation in keeping businesses afloat and economies sustainable during the pandemic. The IFIs and observers were also provided the opportunity to share their ongoing initiatives in assisting with COVID-19 impacts’ mitigation as well as their perspectives on global and regional economic outlooks.

Permanent Secretary (Policy and Fiscal) at the Ministry of Finance and Economy (MoFE) Hajah Norliah binti Haji Kula and officers from the International Affairs Division of MoFE were also present.

The adopted APEC Virtual Finance Ministerial Statement on Mitigation and Recovery of COVID-19 Pandemic is available at https://www.apec.org/Meeting-Papers/Sectoral-Ministerial-Meetings/Finance/2020_finance.

Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office and Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato Seri Setia Dr Awang Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah attends the APEC Virtual Finance Ministers’ Meeting (AVFMM) 2020. PHOTO: MOFE