PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Saturday, November 17, pushed for inclusive globalization and Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) empowerment when he met with top business leaders at the opening of the two-day APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting here in Port Moresby.
The President joined fellow APEC leaders for two important meetings– the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) and a dialogue with the Pacific Island leaders.
“So, since yesterday, our President joined the CEO Summit and the ABAC Leaders’ Meeting with the APEC leaders as well,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a press briefing with the Philippine media on Sunday, November 18.
“And ‘yung purpose ng ating Pangulo in attending international cooperation and international organization meetings is really to push for the inclusive globalization that he is passionate about,” Sec. Lopez added.
Lopez also noted that President Duterte has always advocated for a kind of globalization that is inclusive—meaning bigger nations are empowering and helping smaller nations to generate their capability to manufacture and provide services.
The main discussion during the ABAC meeting was really about the digitalization of MSMEs and it was also discussed during the Sunday morning session.
“The messages of President were obvious regarding making sure that again ‘yung globalization should not really affect the small countries and, at the same time, the smaller players in small countries,” Sec. Lopez said about the President’s intervention on the discussions on MSMEs.
“So, in other words, he mentioned that we have to make sure that the globalization will really benefit everyone,” he continued.
The President insisted, according to Sec. Lopez, that MSMEs can be empowered if given proper training, human resource development, and preparation for businesses’ digitalization.
“He recognized that not all MSMEs are empowered to operate their respective digital operation regarding entering into e-commerce or, in fact, even getting access sometimes to a stable internet. And that is the reason why he is saying iba-ibang level ‘yan,” Sec. Lopez said.
MSMEs must be provided with strong internet infrastructure or the ability to be able to maximize their access to information, data, e-commerce, and financial technology regarding e-payments.
“He knows that eventually, the economy is really going towards that direction. Digitalizing business. So, at this point, ang sinabi niya talaga very important to provide a lot of training, retraining, education for the MSMEs,” Sec. Lopez said quoting the President.
With regards to globalization, Sec. Lopez said that the President emphasized the principle of having a ‘win-win’ arrangements and respect for sovereignty.
President Duterte has mentioned time and again his administration’s diplomacy principle: “The Philippines is a friend to everyone and enemy to no one, ” Sec. Lopez cited.
APEC Economic Leaders created ABAC in November 1995 to provide advice for the implementation of the ‘Osaka Action Agenda’ and to respond when the various APEC fora request information about business-related issues or to provide the business perspective on specific areas of cooperation.
The ABAC International Secretariat is based in the Philippines.
After the dialogue with ABAC, the leaders gathered for the APEC Leaders’ Dialogue with the Pacific Islands leaders whose primary concern is climate change.
“It’s essential for countries to cooperate on how to address climate change that will affect not only their economy but also their existence, ” Sec. Lopez said.
The Pacific Islands include Papua New Guinea, the Cook Islands, Fiji, Micronesia, Niue, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu.
While Papua New Guinea is a member of APEC, the leaders of the other island nations have been invited to participate in the APEC summit here as observers.
On Sunday morning, the President attended scheduled meetings with fellow heads of state, such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Informal Dialogue and Leaders’ Retreat. PND