Asean finance ministers to meet this week, discuss integration
By Ben O. de Vera
05 April 2017

MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN News Desk) - Finance ministers from Asean bloc will meet this week and discuss further economic integration. 

Finance ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) will discuss progress made since the Asean Economic Community (AEC) came into force two years ago at a conference this week in the Philippines. 

The Philippines’ Department of Finance (DOF) said yesterday that the finance chiefs of Asean’s ten member-states would exchange views at the 12th Asean Finance Ministers Investors Seminar to be held tomorrow in Lapu-Lapu City.

They hope to expand investment within the regional bloc, which ultimately aims to create a single market and production base under the AEC.

Integration, however, has been slow at best with member states unable to reach agreements on issues like internal migration of workers within the AEC. The economic community still largely lacks a regulation framework as well. 

Asean is further challenged by its attempts to bring together vastly different political systems with varied levels of economic development and rule of law that will further challenge integration. 

The international spotlight is on the regional bloc, however, as 2017 marks its 50th anniversary. 

At this week’s conference, finance chiefs will tackle other issues like regional connectivity, infrastructure investment, e-commerce and trade facilitation, according to the DOF. 

The conference is one of the key events during the weeklong meetings of top Asean central bank and finance officials, which will lead to the Third Asean Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ Joint Meeting on Friday.

The Asean finance ministers and central bank governors are set to discuss ways to flesh out Asean’s commitments to financial integration and cooperation against the backdrop of a new wave of protectionism and other uncertainties in the global economy, according to the DOF.

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