The year-long APEC meetings have identified specific actions, practical initiatives, and programs that aim to enhance the Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (BAA-MSME).
During the last leg of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) discussions, Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Gregory Domingo, together with Ministers of 21 APEC member-economies, met for the the APEC Ministerial Meeting (AMM) held in Pasay City.
Regarding the development of the Boracay Action Agenda, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Gregory L. Domingo said, “We have made significant contributions to APEC. Our work has gathered support for member economies to collectively work towards an Asia Pacific region that addresses gaps in economic development, sustains long-term and inclusive growth, and benefits our micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).”
According to the secretary, the Philippines has been successful in placing the MSMEs “front and center” of the APEC agenda technical and consultative meetings. The Boracay Action Agenda and its implementation plan—supported by trade ministers last May—was endorsed by APEC Senior Officials during the Concluding Senior Officials Meeting (CSOM) last November 15, 2015, and highlighted the first day of AMM discussions.
“The Philippines will remain steadfast and persistent in implementing initiatives that boosts growth of the various sectors of the economy, engages local businesses, and generates job opportunities for local communities. We remain committed to our goal of inclusive growth by making the most of the benefits of regional integration and trade facilitation in our own economy,” said Domingo.
Better connectivity through transparency
DTI led the development and launch of the APEC Trade Repository (APEC TR) to promote transparency and connectivity in the APEC region. The website provides exporters, industry associations, and policymakers timely and accurate information on tariff information and import and export procedures that will help address non- trade barriers.
The Philippines also made progress in stimulating green growth in the country, improving market access for environmental goods by reducing the tariff rates of 54 environmental goods to 5% or less. The initiative supports APEC’s efforts to build sustainable and resilient communities and to address climate change in the Asia-Pacific Region. This has also been attributed to an increase in the number of foreign companies outsourcing parts of their manufacturing processes to the Philippines and has resulted in the inclusion of the country’s photovoltaic industry in the environmental global value chain.
[Read: President Aquino will attend the 21st Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which will be held in Paris, France later this year.]
Cebu Action Plan
Meanwhile, the Cebu Action Plan endorsed by APEC ministers earlier this month, calls for initiatives to promote alternative financing mechanisms, specifically to improve access to finance of the MSMEs. It will address common challenges of MSMEs by enhancing financial resilience of industries, developing innovative disaster risk financing and insurance mechanisms, and developing an APEC public-private partnership (PPP) Knowledge Portal that would serve as an online repository of PPP infrastructure projects.
During the AMM, Ministers finalized a statement embodying all these initiatives and programs that was presented at the APEC Economic Leaders Meeting (AELM) held from November 18 to 19, 2015.