Scene at the 22nd ASEAN Finance Ministers Meeting in Singapore (Photo: VNA)

Singapore, (VNA) – ASEAN Finance Ministers began their 22nd meeting in Singapore on April 6.

The meeting was attended by representatives from the ASEAN Secretariat, International Monetary Fund, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, ASEAN +3 and Macroeconomic Research Office.

The Vietnamese delegation to the event was led by Deputy Finance Minister Tran Xuan Ha.

Chairing the function, Singaporean Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat said in his opening remarks that the ministers meet at a time of optimism for the regional economies.

He quoted the International Monetary Fund data which show the ASEAN economy grew by 5.1 percent in 2017 and is expected to outstrip most other regions in 2018.

However, the minister warned that the region is still facing challenges, including rising protectionism and trade tensions, which without good management can affect the bloc’s growth.

He said in the context, Singapore, as ASEAN chair this year, is committed to working with other member countries to boost regional trade and investment, particularly in financing infrastructure projects that connect economies in the region.

Participating ministers were updated on implementation progress of initiatives on ASEAN financial connectivity, including those on capital market liberation, infrastructure financing, customs cooperation, and prevention of money laundering, among others.

Outcomes of ASEAN 3 financial cooperation initiatives like the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation and Asian Bond Markets Initiative were also tabled.

The ministers are expected to discuss priorities set for this year as proposed by Singapore.-VNA