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Joint Statement of the 8th ASEAN Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting (AFMGM)


Joint Statement of the 8th ASEAN Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting (AFMGM) Video Conference Meeting, 08 April 2022

1. The 8th Joint Meeting of the ASEAN Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors
(AFMGM) was convened under the co-chairmanship of H.E. Dr. Aun Pornmoniroth,
Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economy and Finance, and Honorable Chea
Chanto, Governor of the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC). For the third
consecutive year, the Meeting was held virtually due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.


ASEAN Chair 2022 Priorities


2. The Meeting welcomed Cambodia’s theme of ‘ASEAN A.C.T.: Addressing
Challenges Together’ for its Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2022. The Meeting
commended the timeliness of the Chair’s theme that were anchored on four (4)
key Strategic Thrust for the ASEAN Economic Community. These include (i)
Enhancing Digital Connectivity, Science and Technology, (ii) Narrowing the
Development Gap for ASEAN’s Competitiveness, (iii) Promoting a more Integrated,
Inclusive, Resilient and Competitive ASEAN, and (iv) Promoting Global ASEAN for
Growth and Development. In this spirit, the Meeting remains steadfast in our
commitment to promote financial stability and integration in the ASEAN region,
amidst the uncertainties, which may hinder regional economic growth, including
the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, and other traditional and non-traditional
security threats.


Economic Update and Policy Challenges


3. The Meeting exchanged views with the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Asian
Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office
(AMRO), the World Bank (WB), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), on the
outlook for global and regional economies, the risks and opportunities, policy
challenges amidst the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic particularly from
the new wave of Omicron variant, and the effects of the geopolitical developments
in Europe that caused a surge in oil and other commodity prices and its impact to
the regional post-pandemic recovery.


4. The Meeting noted the green shoots of recovery in the region with the positive growth of ASEAN’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), picking up from 3% in 2021 to 4.9% projected this year, underpinned by the gradual reopening and recovery of
ASEAN Member States’ (AMS). Nevertheless, the emergence of new wave of
COVID-19 cases and the effect of escalating geopolitical tensions in Europe has
continued to pose uncertainty to the pace of recovery, accompanied by increasing
financial market uncertainty.


5. The Meeting commended the efforts of the AMS and the importance of their
targeted and comprehensive policies that were critical in managing over the
adverse effects of the health and economic crises. As ASEAN moves to seize the Final momentum of recovery, the Meeting recognised that the roll-out of vaccination
remains one of the top priorities, while timely fiscal and monetary policy response
are still necessary to strengthen our fragile economic recovery. The Meeting
reaffirmed its commitment to strengthen cooperation to overcome the threats and
pressing challenges to growth and inflation, including from COVID-19 pandemic,
climate change, geo-political tensions and digital transformation.


6. At the same time, the Meeting remains vigilant in monitoring the downside risks
and will be ready to use all the available policy tools and a wide range of measures
to ensure an inclusive, sustainable, and resilient recovery and maintain financial
stability in the region. The Meeting will cautiously and gradually normalise the
expansionary policy measures, while mitigating the risks to safeguard the recovery
process.


7. The Meeting continues to deepen our collaboration with AMRO in regional
economic and financial research and surveillance, capacity building and data and
information sharing through our forthcoming ASEAN Secretariat-AMRO
Cooperation on Financial Integration.


Financial Integration and Liberalisation


8. The Meeting welcomed the notable progress in financial services liberalisation
initiatives, including the ongoing negotiations on the upgrade of the Annex on
Financial Services of the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement
(AANZFTA). The Meeting recognises the potential contribution of the AANZFTA not
only to our regional integration, but more significantly to our post-pandemic
recovery.


9. The Meeting encouraged our finance officials to expedite efforts to foster financial
services liberalisation in the region, particularly in (a) completing the signing of
ASEAN Framework Agreement on Services (AFAS) Package 9 Protocol at an
appropriate time; (b) transitioning from the AFAS to ASEAN Trade in Services
Agreement (ATISA) Non-Conforming Measures (NCMs) with the agreed workplan;
(c) commencing the financial services negotiations on the ASEAN-Canada FTA as
well as (d) upgrading the AANZFTA, including incorporating elements that would
help ensure the resilience of financial stability, promote digitalisation, and
generate new and financially meaningful opportunities to the financial sector.


10. The Meeting also acknowledged the two capacity building activities to support the
work under the Working Committee on Financial Services Liberalisation (WC-FSL)
namely (i) Investor State Dispute Settlement on Financial Services (ISDS-FS); and
(ii) Marine, Aviation and Goods in Transport (MAT) Insurance to further strengthen
our competencies in engaging with our Dialogue Partners.


11. The Meeting welcomed the completion of the study on AMS’ Financial Landscape
Toward Furthering ASEAN Banking Integration in the Digital Era which provides
recommendations to the Working Committee on ASEAN Banking Integration
Framework (WC-ABIF) to maximise benefits of financial digitalisation while
Final minimising associated risks by further assessing the impact of digitalisation on the
financial sector and how the current ABIF Guidelines and related frameworks can
adapt to the new landscape.


12. The Meeting acknowledged the significant progress of the ASEAN Capital Market
Forum’s (ACMF) implementation of its ACMF Action Plan 2021-2025, particularly
on its Phase 2 Action Plan 2021-2025 that includes: (i) driving higher levels of
transparency and disclosure, (ii). Continuing with regulatory harmonization, (iii).
Intensifying capacity building, (iv). Amplifying communication and building
awareness (v). Strengthening cooperation and coordination. The Meeting
welcomed the effort of ACMF to develop the ASEAN Collective Investment Scheme
(ASEAN CIS) Digital Repository which will become a platform to promote and
publicize cross-border offerings of funds in ASEAN. The Meeting also noted the
continued development of the ASEAN Corporate Governance Scorecard and look
forward to the ASEAN Corporate Governance Awarding Ceremony in September
2022.


Trade and Investment Facilitation


13. The Meeting commended the Working Committee on Capital Account Liberalisation
(WC-CAL) for the good progress in strengthening policy dialogue and information
exchange mechanism on capital flows statistics and measures among AMS. The
Meeting also noted the completion of the ASEAN WC-CAL Policy Note on Capital
Account Safeguard Measures Recent Experiences, which was conveyed to the IMF
as input to its ongoing work on the Integrated Policy Framework (IPF). Additionally,
the Meeting looks forward to the stocktake of AMS’ sustainable finance
development policies and initiatives to promote capital flows and investments for
sustainable finance-related activities domestically and within ASEAN.


14. The Meeting welcomed the progress of the ASEAN Forum on Taxation (AFT)’s
initiative on the network of bilateral avoidance of double taxation agreements
(DTAs) with an additional signing between Brunei Darussalam and Philippines, as
well as ratification of two (2) DTAs between Cambodia and Malaysia, and
Cambodia and Indonesia, bringing the signed and ratified DTAs to 72. The Meeting
also commended Malaysia for completing all the DTAs with AMS. The Meeting
encourages the AFT to work towards the completion and improvement of the
bilateral DTA networks among AMS, under the Strategic Action Plan 2016-2025 for
taxation cooperation. In addition, the Meeting encourages the remaining AMS to
consider joining the Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information
for Tax Purposes and the Inclusive Framework on Base Erosion and Profit shifting,
and implement the internationally agreed standards. The Meeting also encourage
the AFT to study the utilisation of digitalisation as a means to increase the
efficiency of revenue collection.


15. The Meeting took note of the ASEAN Withholding Tax (WHT) Study’s
recommendation to make WHT information and documentation available to
taxpayers in electronic format accessible from a single portal, and the ASEAN
initiative for such information, alongside the Standardised Certificate of Residence
(CoR) in ASEAN to be available in a centralised portal on the ASEAN Finance
Cooperation Web Portal (AFCWP). The Meeting encouraged the AFT to further
enhance these informations in the portal where appropriate to further facilitate the
administrative efficiency of cross-border transactions, as well as promoting
regional competitiveness in ASEAN. The Meeting looks forward to the AFT further
discussing and developing an Action Plan on the other recommendations of the
ASEAN WHT Study.


16. The Meeting is also pleased with the ASEAN Customs continued progress in their
implementation of the Strategic Plans of Customs Development (SPCDs) 2021-
2025 programme and initiatives particularly towards the realisation of the first
characteristic identified in ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2025 that
includes the (i) Implementation of the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) and
the ASEAN AEO Mutual Recognition Arrangement (AAMRA) where seven (7) AMS
have already implemented their national AEO programmes, (ii) ASEAN Customs
Transit System (ACTS) full live operations in six (6) Participating Member Countries
(PMC), and (iii) continuing cooperation with Dialogue Partners to exchange
intelligence information in a timely manner and leveraging technology to fight
illicit trade. The Meeting looks forward to the adoption of the Joint Action Plan on
the AAMRA at the ASEAN Customs Director-Generals Meeting in Singapore in June
2022.


17. The Meeting also commended the progress of the ASEAN Single Window (ASW),
particularly in the implementation of the ASEAN Customs Declaration Document
(ACDD) with six (6) AMS having exchanged ACDDs since 2020. The Meeeting
encourages the remaining AMS to join the implementation of the ACDD in 2022.


Financing, Payment and Service Connectivity


18. The Meeting welcomed the launch of the linkage of the Real-Time Retail Payment
Systems (RT-RPS) of Singapore and Thailand in 2021, the world’s first cross-border
RT-RPS linkage implemented, which facilitates faster, cheaper, more inclusive, and
more transparent cross-border payment transfers.


19. The Meeting is also pleased with the launches of bilateral cross-border QR code
payment linkages between Indonesia and Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia,
Malaysia and Thailand, Singapore and Thailand, Thailand and Vietnam, and
Cambodia and Thailand, as well as the upcoming linkages between Malaysia and
Singapore, and the Philippines and Singapore. These linkages will enable users to
make cross-border payments by using QR codes, and will contribute to the
development of a regional cross-border payments network within ASEAN.


20. The Meeting looks forward to the expansion of the RT-RPS and QR code payment
linkages into an interconnected network across the region, furthering ASEAN’s
digitalization drive and enabling financial inclusion. This will position ASEAN
globally at the forefront of retail payments connectivity.

21. In addition, the Meeting noted that the Working Committee on Payment and
Settlement Systems’ (WC-PSS) is developing an approach to monitor AMS’ progress
in meeting the G20/FSB targets for cross-border payments on cost, speed,
transparency, and access.


Infrastructure Financing


22. The Meeting expressed appreciation for the ASEAN Infrastructure Fund’s (AIF’s)
efforts in mainstreaming the Green and Inclusive Infrastructure Window (GIIW)
into the permanent ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility (ACGF) to sustain
momentum from its pilot programme to further meet long-term objectives,
including robust demand for ACGF financing and technical support and its
contribution to the region’s green recovery under the post-pandemic scenario.


23. The Meeting noted the progress of the Working Committee on Capital Market
Development (WC-CMD) and the ASEAN Capital Market Forum (ACMF) on
Infrastructure Financing, particularly on the WC-CMD Infrastructure Finance
Working Group (IFWG)’s development of a Conversation Pack as part of the
“Sustainable Finance First for Sustainable Projects” Initiative. This aims to kick
start discussions with the relevant ministries, government agencies, project owners
and promoters to consider using sustainable finance as the first choice for financing
for sustainable projects. The Meeting welcomes the publication of the Conversation
Pack on the ASEAN Finance Cooperation Web Portal (AFCWP) and look forward to
its socialisation program this year. The Meeting also acknowledged the discussions
on the Standardised Core Project Finance Loan Documents, made available online
by Infrastructure Asia, with the support of the Asia-Pacific Loan Market Association.


Sustainable Finance


24. The Meeting commended the progress made by the ASEAN Taxonomy Board (ATB)
on the issuance of Version 1 of the Key Components of the ASEAN Taxonomy for
Sustainable Finance (Version 1) on 10 November 2021, which encapsulates the
key components of a sustainable finance taxonomy catered to the needs of AMS.
The principles-based Foundation Framework will allow AMS to pursue the region’s
sustainability agenda in a way that reflects their individual circumstances, while
the Plus Standard will set out science-based metrics and threholds for the
classification of economic activities that contribute to Paris Agreement-aligned
pathways. The Meeting welcomed the approach of the ASEAN Taxonomy that is
inclusive, transparent, practical and facilitative while providing rigorous pathways
that are consistent with regional and global sustainability ambitions.


25. The Meeting noted that the ATB will be commencing stakeholder consultations on
Version 1 and received inputs will be used in developing the next version of the
ASEAN Taxonomy.


26. The Meeting took note of the significant progress of the recommendations under
ACMF Roadmap for ASEAN Sustainable Capital Markets. The Meeting is pleased
with the issuance by the ACMF of the ASEAN SDG Bond Toolkit to provide preliminary guidance on the key principles and processes for issuing bonds that
are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in
order to mobilize more private capital to finance SDG investments that yield
sustainable development outcomes and accelerate the economic recovery from the
impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.


27. The Meeting also acknowledged the progress by the ACMF in the development of
the ASEAN Sustainability-Linked Bond Standards to facilitate issuances of bonds
with sustainability-linked goals and targets, to complement the existing suite of
bond standards that the ACMF has already introduced for green, social and
sustainability bonds, and encourage more ASEAN companies to tap sustainable
finance for their transition to sustainable business practices. The Meeting looks
forward to this standard being endorsed by the ACMF Chairs’ meeting at the end
of this year. The Meeting also supports the ACMF’s initiative on the development
of ASEAN Sustainable and Responsible Fund Standards and the introduction of a
“Green Lane” to facilitate cross-border offerings of ASEAN Sustainable and
Responsible Fund in supporting the Roadmap on ASEAN Sustainable Capital
Markets.


28. The Meeting recognised the ACMF’s and WC-CMD’s efforts in deepening industry
engagement through the Joint Sustainable Finance Working Group (JSFWG)
Industry Advisory Panel (IAP) in the priority areas of taxonomy; transition
standards; disclosures; and strengthening demand and supply. The Meeting looks
forward to the publication of the IAP whitepapers in the coming months.


29. The Meeting supported the workplan for sustainable insurance that the ASEAN
Insurance Regulators Meeting (AIRM) has developed. This includes the launch of
a biannual newsletter to update AIRM members on developments and available
capacity building programmes on sustainable finance, and the identification of
sustainability/climate risk as a priority area for capacity building programmes by
the ASEAN Insurance Training and Research Institute (AITRI).


30. The Meeting acknowledged the significant progress made by the ASEAN Central
Banks in promoting the sustainable finance agenda. The Meeting welcomed the
establishment of the two workstreams under the Senior Level Committee Task
Force (SLC-TF) to follow-up on the priority areas of capacity building for
sustainable finance and the development of an ASEAN Green Map. The Meeting
welcomed the efforts of the SLC-TF, with technical support from Southeast Asian
Central Banks (SEACEN) Centre in developing an ASEAN Learning Roadmap and
Learning Curriculum on Sustainable Finance that will provide ASEAN Central Banks
and regulators with insights into the tools and approaches to assess and monitor
environmental risk; design appropriate mitigation measures; and support the
scaling up of sustainable finance. The Meeting also commends the initiative to
develop an ASEAN Green Map to promote a comprehensive and coordinated
development of sustainable finance in the region across banking, insurance, capital
market, and ancillary services sector that support sustainable financing. The
Meeting supports the initiative to conduct a stock-take on AMS’ progress on
sustainable banking.

Financial Inclusion

31. The Meeting will continue to advance financial inclusion in ASEAN by increasing
financial access, usage and quality of financial services for the peoples in ASEAN.
The Meeting is pleased to note that the average level of ASEAN financial exclusion,
based on AMS’ national data is now at 27.92 percent, already surpassing the 2025
target of 30 percent in the Strategic Action Plans (SAP) for Financial Integration.
The Meeting noted that all AMS have now established a national financial inclusion
or financial education strategy / blueprint in supporting their national financial
inclusion strategy and implementation plans. The Meeting welcomed the
publication of the works of the Working Committee on Financial Inclusion (WCFINC)
namely the “Policy Note on Digital Financial Literacy” and “Measuring
Progress 2021: Financial Inclusion in Selected ASEAN countries” in supporting
greater financial inclusivity in the region and integrating financial inclusion effort
with economic inclusion outcome.


32. The Meeting take note of the considerable progress in insurance penetration in
ASEAN, despite the pandemic and economic contraction in the region. This was
facilitated by the accelerated deployment of digitalisation initiatives and
amendments to regulations to enable insurance business to seamlessly adapt to
the new operating environment brought on by the pandemic. The Meeting
welcomed AIRM’s initiative to develop a COVID-19 Insurance Data Terminal that
consolidates the entry and travel insurance requirements of each AMS.
Disaster Risk Financing


33. The Meeting is pleased with the progress made by the ASEAN Disaster Risk
Financing and Insurance (ADRFI) Phase 2 Programme Offices run in parallel by
the ICRM-NTU and the ASEAN Secretariat. On Risk Assessment, the Meeting noted
the completion of the Economic Exposure Data (EED) and Economic Loss Data
(ELD) report for the three AMS last year and ongoing work for three more AMS
this year. The data exchange and analytics prototype-portal which uses 2-D and
3-D dashboards for risk financing analysis to facilitate AMS’ risk assessment and
advisory work, was also completed ahead of schedule. On the capacity building
programme, the Meeting also welcomed the good progress made with the roll-out
of three capacity building activities in collaboration with various International
Organisations to support the enhancement of the disaster finance resiliency and
address the climate risk in the region. The Meeting also took note of the ongoing
discussion on possible expansion of the scope for the ASEAN Cross-Sectoral
Coordination Committee On Disaster Risk Financing and Insurance to include other
risks such as pandemic health risk.


Cyber Resilience


34. The Meeting welcomed the continued sharing of updates among AMS on cyber
resilience and capacity building initiatives of the ASEAN Cybersecurity Resilience
and Information Sharing Platform (CRISP) to combat cybersecurity threats among
central banks.


35. The Meeeting looks forward to the signing of the supplemental Memorandum of
Understanding (MOU) by all Digital Technology Network (DTN) members.


Digital Asset


36. Cognisant of the importance of digital asset development and challenges, The
Meeting welcomed the initiatives to include a standing agenda item in the ACMF’s
agenda to exchange information and views on the regulation and developments in
the area of digital assets. The Meeting also encourage greater exchange of views
on digital asset developments amongst the relevant ASEAN working committees.


Dialogue with the Business Councils


37. The Meeting expressed our appreciation to the ASEAN Business Advisory Council,
ASEAN Financial Institutions CEO, EU-ASEAN Business Council and the US-ASEAN
Business Council on the lively exchange of views on the outstanding regional and
global issues. The Meeting recognised the significant role and contributions of our
industry partners in supporting ASEAN’s initiatives in advancing regional postpandemic
economic recovery towards a sustainable, resilient and inclusive growth.


Conclusion


38. The Meeting appreciate the support given by the ASEAN Secretariat to the 8th
AFMGM and its Related Meetings.


39. The Meeting expressed our deep appreciation to Cambodia for hosting the 8th
AFMGM and its Related Meetings in virtual format given this trying times. The
Meeting welcomed Indonesia as Chair and Host of the 9th AFMGM in 2023.



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