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Peru agrees to champion roadmap for Asia Pacific

Cebu Action Plan hops on to next stage
/ 12:41 AM September 21, 2015

THE CEBU Action Plan (CAP), a Philippine-led development roadmap for the Asia-Pacific region, was finally launched and with the right amount of fanfare.

The ceremonial launch, held during the Apec Finance Ministers’ Meeting in Mactan, Cebu on Sept. 11, was graced by top- and senior-ranking delegates from the finance ministries across the 21 member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec).

Furthermore, the event was punctuated by the unveiling of the CAP marker, a 4-meter-tall sculpture made of pounded brass and created by Filipino visual artist Toym Imao, whose works are exhibited locally and abroad.

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The sculpture’s sheer size and shiny material commanded not only attention but also awe among the Apec delegates.

The unveiling of the sculpture was followed by a joint press conference on the CAP by the finance ministers and heads of delegations.

The ceremony for the launch of the CAP may be elaborate, but considering the activities that preceded the high-profile event, the grandeur may be justified. Prior to the launch, proponents of the CAP gathered inputs from other Apec member economies and development partners, as well as solicited the support of stakeholders- a tedious process that began as early as January, the start of the Philippines’ year-round hosting of Apec.

Turnover

But more than the impressive launching ceremony, what truly matters is the actual implementation of the short- to long-term measures proposed under the CAP.

Aiming to make the roadmap a living document that will be used by other economies as a guide in taking policy directions in the coming years, the Philippines took the task of wooing the next Apec host.

Because the Philippines is turning over the year-round hosting of Apec to Peru in 2016, it is comforting to get an assurance that the next host will continue championing the CAP.

With this in mind, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima had sat down with Peru’s head of delegation to discuss the roadmap.

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“I met with Peru Vice Minister of Economy Enzo Defilippi to discuss the turnover of our hosting duties. Peru thanked us for a successful hosting and reiterated its support to the Cebu Action Plan,” Purisima says.

In the joint press conference of the Apec finance ministers, Defilippi expressed Peru’s intention to oversee the progress of other Apec economies in terms of implementing the CAP.

“We would like to focus our efforts in several initiatives of the Cebu Action Plan that we believe will give us sustainable growth,” Defilippi says.

In a separate press conference during the Apec week in Cebu, Peru’s Fabier Roca, director general of the international economic affairs unit of the Ministry of Economy and Finance, explained why Peru was keen on continuing the work on CAP.

“The Cebu Action Plan is a very comprehensive action, not only against market volatility but also for fostering capital market development, exchange of information and promotion of trade and investments,” Roca says.

Roca echoes Purisima’s statement that the financial market volatility seen in recent weeks and the other challenges confronting Apec economies made the case for the adoption of the CAP stronger.

CAP’s four key pillars

CAP is the first roadmap for the Apec Finance Ministers Process (FMP), the subgroup concerned with finance-related matters, that provided a long-term agenda.

Anchored on the overall Apec goal of curbing income inequality and making economic growth in the Asia-Pacific region more inclusive, the CAP has four key pillars: (1) financial integration, (2) fiscal reforms and transparency, (3) financial resilience and (4) infrastructure development and financing.

The first pillar, financial integration, involves coordination of rules for cross-border flow of funds to boost trade and investments.

The second pillar, fiscal reforms and transparency, seeks to make data on sources and uses of government funds more accessible to the public in order to promote greater public participation and efficiency in the use of fiscal resources.

The third pillar, financial resilience, includes measures that will make households, enterprises and economies resilient to natural disasters and other shocks, such as through innovative insurance products.

The fourth pillar, infrastructure development and financing, entails sharing of data and expertise, as well as capital market initiatives to boost infrastructure investments, including the cross-border type.

Progress assessment

The CAP, like other initiatives adopted by Apec, is nonbinding because of the varying levels of development and domestic circumstances of the Apec economies. Apec economies are encouraged to pursue the initiatives within the suggested 10-year timeline, although actual schedule of delivery may vary depending on domestic policy considerations.

Nevertheless, the progress of member economies as far as implementation of proposed development measures is concerned is constantly assessed. In fact, Apec regularly publishes reports showing each economy’s performance vis-à-vis the goals embraced by the international organization.

It is actually up to an economy whether or not to implement the proposed measures under the CAP, the merits of which have been acknowledged by all Apec member economies. However, choosing not to implement, or opting to delay the implementation of the proposed measures pose the risk for an economy being left behind its peers in the region.

With the common need to address inequality and to make economic growth in the region more inclusive, all Apec member economies stand to gain from the implementation of the CAP.

Keen on seeing the Asia-Pacific region progress with the roadmap, the Philippines is expected to continue championing the CAP even after its Apec-hosting this year.

And with Peru as an ally, the chance of realizing that vision becomes greater.

To know more about the Cebu Action Plan and the 2015 Joint Ministerial Statement of the Apec Finance Ministers, you may visit the Facebook pages of the Investor Relations Office—EconomyPH—and the Department of Finance, or log on to the DOF’s website: www.dof.gov.ph.

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