MANILA, April 7 (Xinhua) -- Finance ministers and central bank governors of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) reaffirmed their joint commitment Friday to promote economic growth and strengthen financial integration and stability amid global economic uncertainties arising from possible protectionist policies and volatilities.
In a joint statement issued at the end of the 3rd ASEAN Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting, the ASEAN officials also committed to "remain steadfast" in pursuing ASEAN's goals to achieve "a highly integrated, cohesive economy" that is "competitive, innovative, dynamic, with enhanced connectivity and sectoral cooperation."
The statemnent said the measures are vital to making the region more "resilient, inclusive, people-oriented, people-centered and connected with the rest of the world" amid the rise protectionism and geopolitical developments that could derail the recovery of the global economy.
"As such, we shall continue to promote economic growth, financial integration, strengthen financial stability, implement appropriate monetary, fiscal and macroprudential policies in our jurisdictions, and intensify financial cooperation to further advance our region's resilience," the statement said.
The finance and central bank chiefs also pledged to deepen regional financial cooperation to realize an ASEAN Economic Community 2025, pursue the creation of an interconnected, inclusive and resilient regional capital market and ensure the efficient development of the Green Bond initiatives.
They also initiated a "financial inclusion initiative" to deliver more financial products and services to under-served communities within the ASEAN and reaffirmed their vision of liberalizing progressive financial services.
The officials also noted the sustained expansion of the ASEAN economy at 4.6 percent in 2016 amid global uncertainties, and stressed that domestic demand will continue to be a key driver to regional growth, while structural reforms, public spending and fiscal stimulus will enhance investments in the region.
But despite these positive trends, they also cited risks emerging from a rising tendency toward protectionism, the normalization of policy rates and "geopolitical developments."
"We urged international financial institutions to be vigilant as guardians of the open multilateral system. The normalization of policy rates may also increase volatilities in our economies," the statement said.
The ministers and central bank heads also discussed promotion of the use of local currency to facilitate int-ASEAN trade and investments and the ASEAN payment and settlement systems.
The progress of the development and integration of the insurance sector in ASEAN and plans to liberalize international maritimes, aviation and transit (MAT) insurance were also discussed at the meeting, along with the liberalization of catastrophic reinsurance to financially arm ASEAN economies and improve their economic resilience against natural catastrophes.