Peter Costello

Media Releases

12th APEC Finance Ministers Meeting

NO.079

12TH APEC FINANCE MINISTERS’ MEETING

The twelfth APEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting in Jeju, Korea, on 8-9 September 2005 provided an important opportunity for Finance Ministers to discuss issues affecting the region’s economies.

At the meeting, Finance Ministers reviewed international macroeconomic developments and concluded that global economic growth is likely to remain robust, although high and volatile oil prices pose a more serious risk. Noting this risk, Australia called for such steps as possible to be taken to boost production and ease the pressure of today’s extremely high price levels. Minister’s also agreed on the need for action in APEC economies to sustain growth and make it more balanced between economies.

Looking to the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference in Hong Kong SAR in December, Ministers stressed the need for a comprehensive and substantial result in the current Doha Development Round of the WTO.

Finance Ministers discussed the importance of capital flows for member economies and the challenges posed by population ageing for economic growth and fiscal sustainability. Australia’s initiatives of the Inter-Generational Report and the establishment of the Future Fund were noted during the meeting. Ministers emphasised the need for medium and long-term fiscal sustainability and the role of domestic reform of markets and regulatory systems to ensure that each economy has the flexibility to deal with the ageing challenge. International cooperation among member economies through the sharing of knowledge and technical assistance is essential to ensure that all economies can share in sustained prosperity.

Australia’s commitment to supporting APEC’s priorities is reflected in our leadership of a number of initiatives. A policy dialogue will be held in December this year as part of Australia’s initiative to raise awareness and exchange views on key frameworks for insolvency reform. Australia is co-chairing two new initiatives on which policy dialogues will be held in 2006: an initiative with Indonesia to discuss how APEC members have been implementing reforms to the financial sector; and an initiative with Indonesia and Vietnam on the management of fiscal risks.

A Ministerial Retreat was again held at the meeting in Jeju. The retreat encouraged interactive and broad discussion between ministers and representatives of the business community on the risks to growth posed by high oil prices, increasing housing prices and the ageing of the population.

Australia joined other APEC economies in congratulating the Republic of Korea in its successful hosting of APEC this year, and looks forward to Vietnam’s hosting in 2006.

SOUTH KOREA
9 September 2005

Contact: Amanda Kennedy
03 9650 0244

9 Sep 2005

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