MALACAÑANG — President Rodrigo Roa Duterte will meet more than 40,000 Filipinos working or staying in Papua New Guinea (PNG) when he attends the 19th Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting at Port Moresby on November 17 and 18.
In a pre-departure briefing, Foreign Affairs Undersecretary Ernesto Abella said part of President Duterte’s itinerary is meeting Filipinos in PNG who are mostly engaged in services and agricultural sectors.
“The Philippines provides important services to the people of PNG. Foremost of which is agricultural expertise, assisting local rice growers to improve yields and to maximize efficiency,” the envoy said.
Aside from meeting Filipinos, another highlight of the President’s visit will be a dialogue with prominent business leaders during the summit of Chief Executive Officers of the APEC Business Advisory Council or ABAC.
He will also have discussions with leaders of the Pacific Islands Forum.
“The President joins other leaders in affirming the commitment to an international rules-based regime support of the multilateral trading system embodied by organizations like the World Trade Organization,” said Usec. Abella.
The envoy added that the President conveys his support for mechanisms that would enable Filipino entrepreneurs, especially the MSMEs (Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises) to promote their products and services overseas by taking advantage of the digital and online platforms.
The APEC adopted the Boracay Action Agenda in working towards enabling MSMEs in the region to link internationally.
This corresponds to this year’s APEC theme, “Harnessing Inclusive Opportunities and Embracing the Digital Future, according to the envoy.
Furthermore, President Duterte will join other leaders to formulate a new and inclusive APEC Vision beyond the year 2020 and will also highlight the Philippines’ efforts to ensure food security for its people and advance economic opportunities for women.
Over 5.7 million Filipinos overseas reside in the APEC region, contributing 57 percent of remittances to the Philippines.
The country’s trade with APEC economies comprises 84 percent of the Philippines total trade worldwide, with 82 percent of Philippine merchandise exports destined for the APEC region.
In turn, 85 percent of all imports to the Philippines come from its economic partners in APEC. Also, about 83 percent of tourist arrivals in the Philippines come from the APEC region.
Comprised of over 21 member economies, APEC has served as an incubator for new ideas and concepts in furthering inclusive growth and economic development in the region.
It facilitated initiatives that encourage greater regional cooperation, collaboration, innovation, reform, and transformation among institutions and organizations in civil society, public and private sectors, and the academe.
This is the first time Papua New Guinea plays host to APEC since joining the forum in 1993. ###PND