The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) on Tuesday, November 14, announced the “remarkable success” of the 2017 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) regional meet, stressing how the Philippines’ Chairmanship has led to promoting inclusive economic growth in the region.
In a press briefing held at the World Trade Center, DTI Undersecretary Cerefino Rodolfo provided updates on the priority economic deliverables following the conclusion of this year’s ASEAN Economic Ministers’ (AEM) council meetings.
Speaking on behalf of DTI Secretary and 2017 AEM Chair Ramon Lopez, Rodolfo said the council’s discussions in the past year were rooted in the ASEAN goal of ensuring that every citizen, even those at the bottom of the pyramid, could actively participate in trade.
“We are committed in having ASEAN’s economic growth through deeper regional integration become inclusive via efforts in complementation, cooperation, and collaboration where everyone emerges as winners,” Rodolfo said.
Rodolfo noted how the Philippines, under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), has successfully pushed for initiatives designed to create an “inclusive and innovative region” where everyone could partake of the fruits.
He particularly zeroed in on AEC’s “MSME-oriented mandate” for this year. He said the plan was to create an environment where opportunities are abundant even for MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) and where they could take full advantage of the benefits of the regional integration offered by ASEAN.
8 OF 11 ASEAN DELIVERABLES COMPLETED
The DTI official cited AEC’s 11 priority economic deliverables that were based on three strategic measures—increasing trade and investment; integrating MSMEs in global value chains; and developing an innovation-driven economy.
“Of the 11 priority deliverables, the Philippines, together with the whole of ASEAN, has been able to successfully achieved, fully achieved eight, two were technically achieved and one is a work in progress,” Rodolfo said.
Among these deliverables include the completion of the Focused and Strategic (FAST) Action Agenda on Investment; operationalization of the ASEAN Roll-On, Roll-Off (RO-RO) plying the Davao-General Santos-Bitung route; adoption of the ASEAN Seamless Trade Facilitation Indicators (ASTFI) by the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM); development of the ASEAN Inclusive Business Framework (AIBF) to promote inclusive business in the region; adoption of the ASEAN Work Programme on Electronic Commerce (AWPEC) for 2017-2025 by the AEM; and the successful conduct of the first full and comprehensive country visit exercise under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) 2025 Monitoring and Evaluation Framework.
Meanwhile, the adoption of the Action Agenda on Mainstreaming Women’s Empowerment in ASEAN and the ASEAN Declaration on Innovation were achieved during the 31st ASEAN Summit.
Also, the DTI Undersecretary mentioned two more deliverables that were considered as “technically delivered”—the substantial conclusions of the discussions on the Region-Wide Self-Certification Scheme and the ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement (ATISA).
As for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), “it still remains as a work in progress,” according to Rodolfo. Substantial conclusion to the RCEP negotiations refers to being able to settle the modalities of trade negotiations, services, and investments.
In conclusion, the DTI official said the Philippine government remains bullish that the latest developments in ASEAN would generate greater trade and investment engagement for the country and, subsequently, create better opportunities for all Filipinos. ### PCO-Content