PHL agenda to take center stage in Apec CEO Summit (Business Mirror (Philippines))

ISSUES pertaining to inclusive growth, promotion of human capital and development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will be discussed in this year’s Asia- Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) CEO Summit.

During the signing of a partnership agreement with the BusinessMirror on late Wednesday, Apec Summit COO Guillermo Luz said playing host to this year’s meeting allowed the Philippines to push for the discussion of key issues.

It allows us to project what the Philippines is trying to promote: inclusive growth and inclusive business, which means that we are trying to give different businesses to think about what we need to do to push for more dynamic growth moving forward, he said.

Dynamic growth, he added, has to be inclusive.

We want to keep this growth engine going in Apec; and for the Philippines, we need to be pushing along this theme, Luz said.

Hence, the host nation pushed for the discussion of topics on inclusive growth, promotion of SME, the issue on human capital and the need for resiliency.

The Philippines is in the right place pushing this topic up in the world stage-financial inclusion, micro insurance for disasters-these topics are being pushed in a big way during the Philippine year, Luz said.

He added: We’re not just the host, but as chairman, we have the responsibilities to forward and direct an agenda, and help lead the discussion of 21 economies.

The Philippines last hosted the Apec meeting in 1996.

The Apec CEO Summit is the region’s premier business event and provides unparalleled opportunities for business executives to discuss key issues in the Asia Pacific. It also allows businessmen to discover business opportunities and forge connections with thought leaders from around the region and the world. This year’s summit will be held from November 16 to 18 in Manila. The BusinessMirror is the official media partner.

With the theme of Creating the Future: Better, Stronger, Together, this year’s summit will bring together Apec leaders from the world’s most dynamic economies, speakers from the world’s top companies and over 700 CEOs from across the Asia-Pacific region.

The Philippines’s hosting of the Apec is also serving as a significant avenue for the country to strengthen relations with nontraditional trading partners.

These [Apec meetings] are opportunities to advance an agenda and create partnerships. One of the things I see is that this creates an opportunity to make our presence known with the Pacific Alliance. These four Latin American countries make a fairly formidable economic bloc which is interested in going to East Asia and Europe. That’s something to look at, not just our traditional Asean partners. We can take a look at them as a source of trade and investment, said Luz, also the Private Sector cochairman of the National Competitiveness Council and member of the Apec Business Advisory Council.

The Pacific Alliance is composed of Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico. Three members of this Latin American trade bloc-Chile, Peru, Mexico-are members of the Apec.

Earlier in the year, the Department of Trade and Industry, during the Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) meetings held in May, already engaged in bilateral talks with the three Apec economies, with the goal of starting free trade agreements (FTAs) with them.

While the trade department has yet to name specific areas of interest in the framework of the FTAs with the countries, Trade Undersecretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr. expressed strong interest in pursuing the bilateral agreements, as trade and investment levels are currently negligible.

The three South American countries are also members of the United States-led Trans-Pacific Partnership, a broader trade pact which the Philippines has expressed interest in joining as a new member.

The Third Senior Officials’ Meeting is now ongoing in Cebu, while the culminating meetings of Apec, including the Economic Leaders’ meeting, are set to take place in Metro Manila in November.

The BusinessMirror recently inked a memorandum of agreement as a media partner for the Apec CEO Summit to be held from November 16 to 18 in Manila.

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