Treasury Undersecretary Francisco Moreno today highlighted Chile's strengths in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic during the Virtual Finance Ministers’ Meeting of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum. The objective of the meeting was to address the economic situation in the Asia-Pacific region in the light of the current context and to discuss actions to aid its future recovery.
He attended on behalf of Treasury Minister Ignacio Briones, and highlighted the importance of international cooperation "to deal with these unprecedented challenges and difficult times.”
The meeting was chaired by the Minister of Finance of Malaysia, after being chaired by Chile’s Treasury Minister during 2019. The 21 APEC member economies reviewed the work on financial matters carried out during this year, while emphasizing the challenges faced by the economies during the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Finance Ministers also shared their countries’ measures and responses to mitigate the effects of the pandemic and addressed the main challenges that the Asia-Pacific region is facing as a result of this health, social and economic crisis.
“It’s important to recognize that the persistence and intensity of the COVID-19 shock has been significantly higher than expected and this has posed significant challenges to public policy makers in the APEC region. In the case of Chile, our economy entered the crisis with the largest fiscal cushion in the region, with solid foundations and credible institutions. Our Government addressed this situation by announcing policies that liberated up to USD 28.3 billion in fiscal resources in order to provide adequate, immediate and exceptional support for the healthcare system, and targeted support for vulnerable families, employees and businesses,” explained Undersecretary Moreno.
During the meeting, the Ministers highlighted the opportunities offered by economic digitalization for making the Asia-Pacific region more integrated and inclusive. They also spoke about the key role of international cooperation during these challenging times for the APEC economies. The APEC Finance Ministers then went on to approve the APEC Roadmap on Digital Financial Inclusion, which was developed under the leadership of Chile’s Treasury Ministry with support from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). It will be voluntarily implemented with effect from 2021 during the year that APEC will be chaired by New Zealand.
The meeting was also attended by international organizations such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the International Monetary Fund, the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank and the APEC Business Advisory Council. They exchanged views and proposals with the Finance Ministers regarding the challenges of achieving economic recovery after the pandemic and the progress made so far in reaching this goal.
As a result of the meeting, the Ministers reiterated their commitment to supporting economic growth and financial stability and inclusion across the region by approving the Joint Finance Ministerial Statement on Mitigation and Recovery of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
APEC is an economic and technical cooperation forum that operates on the basis of non-binding commitments and open dialogue, aimed at promoting economic growth, technical and economic cooperation, and encouraging and liberalizing trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region. Chile has actively participated in APEC since 1994, when it became a member of this forum.