The 18th ASEAN Plus Three Finance Ministers' and Central Bank Governors' Meeting (AFMGM+3) has reaffirmed the commitment to strengthening the region's economic environment through continuing regional financial cooperation.

Malaysia’s Bernama news agency reported that the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of ASEAN, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea (ASEAN+3) met in Baku, Azerbaijan, on May 3 under the co-chairmanship of Malaysia, which serves as Chair of ASEAN this year, and the RoK.

"Member countries are committed to strengthening the region's economic environment and responses to external shocks through continuing regional financial cooperation as discussed and finalised at the 18th AFMGM+3 here," Malaysian Minister of Finance II Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah was quoted by Bernama as saying at a press conference the same day.

According to the minister, member countries have reviewed the progress of regional financial cooperation achieved since the last meeting, including the Chiang Mai Initiative Multilateralisation (CMIM), ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office (AMRO), the Asian Bond Markets Initiatives (ABMI), Future Priorities and ASEAN+3 New Initiatives.

The RoK's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Strategy and Finance, Kyunghwan Choi said the ASEAN+3 remains committed to ensuring that the CMIM is operationally ready, as well as to further strengthening the mechanism as an essential part of the regional financial safety net.

He also said the meeting acknowledged AMRO's steady development as an independent surveillance organisation for the region, and welcomed its continuous efforts to improve the quality of its surveillance activities.

Choi said the meeting also recognised the progress of the ASEAN+3 Multi-currency Bond Issuance Framework (AMBIF), with the first AMBIF pilot issuance expected in the first half of this year.

Member countries have also endorsed non-binding high-level guiding principles for macro-prudential policies and capital flow measures as reference in dealing with risks to financial stability.

The 19th AFMGM+3 will be held in Frankfurt, Germany, in 2016, when Laos and China will be the co-chairs of the process.-VNA