SINGAPORE, ASEAN Finance Track, a composite of ASEAN foreign ministries and central banks, will focus on sustaining growth, boosting resilience and fostering innovation during Singapore's ASEAN chairmanship, said Singaporean Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat on Friday.

Heng said in his opening remarks at the 22nd ASEAN Finance Ministers' Meeting that the ministers meet at a time of optimism for the regional economies.

He quoted International Monetary Fund as saying that, collectively, ASEAN economy grew by 5.1 percent in 2017 and is expected to outstrip most of other regions in 2018.

However, the minister warned that the region is still facing challenges, including rising protectionism and trade tensions, technological disruption, and demographic trends, which can dramatically affect ASEAN's growth trajectories if not managed well.

Therefore, He called on ASEAN member states to work together in the days ahead and make the ASEAN Economic Community a reality.

According to Heng, to sustain ASEAN's growth, infrastructure development is a key priority, because it can strengthen regional connectivity, enhance the region's growth potential, and improve lives. Thus, he said ASEAN member states will need to work to better mobilize private capital in this area.

Heng also said ASEAN needs to support the development of sustainable or green finance, and seek to enhance financial integration by promoting greater trade and investment flows through customs and tax cooperation, as well as providing better support for enterprise financing.

Besides, the minister said ASEAN member states need to safeguard the region's continued growth and prosperity by boosting resilience. He also called on ASEAN member states to support digital innovations like FinTech, and improve regional fast payments linkages, which is a useful addition to ASEAN integration

Source: NAM News Network