Peter Costello

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Ninth APEC Finance Ministers' Meeting




The Ninth APEC Finance Ministers' Meeting in Los Cabos, Mexico on 5-6 September, provided an important opportunity for regional Finance Ministers to emphasise the importance of APEC's free trade objective and ensuring that all member economies share in the benefits of economic growth arising from trade liberalisation. It also underlined the need for proactive policies to combat terrorist financing and strengthen corporate governance.

At the meeting, Finance Ministers reviewed international macroeconomic developments and called for continued structural reform of APEC economies to underpin growth. Finance Ministers have undertaken a wide range of measures aimed at promoting good governance, transparency, and better prudential supervision. Australia's commitment to supporting this ambitious agenda of structural reform and capacity-building is reflected in our leadership of three initiatives. Firstly, the Australian-led life insurance and pensions initiative, in its third year, continues to provide training to regional regulators. Secondly, Australia hosted the 2nd APEC Future Economic Leaders' Think-Tank in Sydney this year, from which participants produced a paper on APEC and the Harmonisation of Regional Capital Markets. Lastly, Australia is co-chairing an initiative on strengthening corporate governance in the region, on which a policy dialogue was held in July this year.

Corporate governance in the finance sector will remain a key agenda item for the APEC Finance Ministers' process. There was general agreement on Australia's call for universal recognition of consistent international standards for accounting and auditing. Australia is currently working with other APEC economies to develop a "pathfinder" initiative to demonstrate APEC's progress on corporate governance reform and to encourage participation in the ROSC (the IMF/World Bank Reports on the Observance of Standards and Codes) process.

A Ministerial Retreat was again held at the meeting in Mexico. The Retreat encouraged interactive and broad discussion between Ministers, focussing on public and private sector actions on corporate governance in the financial sector, and discussion of world economic developments particularly recent developments affecting the US economy and the Japanese economy.

Finance Ministers reiterated their commitment to the disruption of terrorists' financial networks, and to ensuring that financial systems are not used to finance terrorism. APEC Finance Ministers continue to work with the UN, the IMF, the World Bank, FATF and other relevant international and regional bodies to promote the adoption, implementation and assessment of international standards to combat terrorist financing and money laundering.

Los Cabos, Mexico

6 September 2002

6 Sep 2002

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