APEC finance ministers talk financial services, Europe

Friday, November 11, 2011
At the annual APEC finance ministers meeting, 10 November, APEC finance ministers committed to improving the free flow of financial services in the region as a way to remain economically stable, and they told European leaders to move faster to fix their financial troubles.

"We remain committed to promoting open trade and investment, rejecting protectionism in all its forms," the ministers said in a joint statement. "We also affirm our determination to take actions to promote development."

Ministers noted that there is potential for growth through financial services because in many areas many people don't have access, so providing these services to these groups will "strengthen and broaden economic growth," according to the official press release from APEC

The ministers, in their joint statement, said they plan on implementing the new Basel Committee on Banking Supervision framework, "which raises the quantity, quality and international consistency of capital and liquidity."

They also recognised recommendations from the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) including a possible pilot for an Asia Region Funds Passport (ARFP) in addition to other recommendations: "(1) improving collaboration among financial market regulators in view of increasing regional financial integration; (2) developing policies and initiatives that support capacity-building for financial empowerment and financing of SMMEs; (3) supporting policy frameworks to channel private financing into infrastructure; and (4) enhancing the efficiency of capital markets."

On Europe, US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the chair for the ministers meeting, said: "That basic framework is a good framework but we need to see it put in place with the speed that markets require and with the force that restores confidence. They're moving ahead. We just need to see them move a little more quickly and with a little more force behind it."

Australian Treasurer Wayne Swan said about Europe: "When you have an impact on the share market, you have an impact on retirees, you impact across the board, it has an income effect and a welfare effect. That's why everybody has got an interest in ensuring that the Europeans actually get their act together, because we are all interconnected in this global economy."

The finance ministers meeting was part of the APEC conference, held in Honolulu, Hawai'i, USA.