ASEAN finance ministers to work toward regional financial integration

Finance ministers and central bank governors from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations have agreed to make efforts toward realizing financial integration in the region by 2025, according to their statement adopted Monday.

During their meetings in the Lao capital Vientiane, representatives from the 10 member states of ASEAN welcomed the launch late last year of the ASEAN Economic Community and pledged to promote financial inclusion and stability based on a blueprint for the coming decade for the AEC.

"The ASEAN economy grew by 4.4 percent in 2015, despite challenges in the global economy," the joint statement said, inferring to the world economic downturn last year marked by the slowing of Chinese economic expansion.

The representatives noted that despite "downside risks arising from external factors," the region will work on maintaining economic growth and promoting financial stability this year by putting in place "appropriate monetary, fiscal and macroprudential policies."

They affirmed continued efforts toward liberalizing financial services and developing capital markets as pillars for realizing regional financial integration.

"We also agreed to intensify our cooperation and integration initiatives to strengthen the ASEAN region's resilience against potential market vulnerabilities, external shocks and volatile financial market conditions," they said.

ASEAN is one of the largest economic zones in the world with a market of more than 600 million people.

ASEAN groups Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Source: Kyodo

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