A local business network is urging members of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) to back Manila’s call for inclusive globalization in the face of uncertainties in the global economy.
The Apec Business Advisory Council (Abac) Philippines said in a news statement that it reaffirms the push for inclusive globalization as sought by the country’s four-point agenda. The call to make free trade expansive to the margins came after the Apec failed to come out with a communique in its recent summit.
The failure was largely attributed to the escalating trade tensions between the United States and China. The former has been accusing the latter of intellectual property theft, forced technology transfers and unfair trading practices.
“Now more than ever, world economies are being challenged to bring in the benefits of free and open trade, especially to the developing economies and for the people at the margins. The global trading system can definitely do more—but we need to work on strategic areas with our economic partners, such as those from Apec, to unleash the growth at home and the rest of the region,” Abac Philippines Chairman Tomas I. Alcantara said.
During the summit, Abac Philippines recommended growing globally competitive micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), as well as accelerating economic growth through infrastructure buildup. It also pushed for championing the services sector in the global economy and harnessing digital innovation as the future of trade.
The Abac Philippines said it will work closely with the trade department to help provide an enabling ecosystem for MSMEs, which will include enhancing finance availability, boosting capacity for scale and improving linkages in the domestic and global value chains.
“[The] Abac Philippines supports its [Southeast Asian] peers—Brunei [Darussalam], Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand—in promoting Islamic infrastructure investment. It is continuing its ongoing work with counterparts, such as Malaysia, to explore other financing mechanisms to support the government’s infrastructure drive,” the statement read.
“It also looks forward to collaborating with Apec bodies to tap the catastrophe bonds, which is critical for a disaster-prone economy like the Philippines,” it added.
The group added the services sector is one of the stronger driver for productivity and economic growth of the Philippines, and affirmed that it will continue to engage the government “to facilitate trade in services—by implementing structural reforms and enhancing physical, institutional and people connectivity.”
Abac Philippines also urged Apec economies, as well the Philippine government, to develop a future-ready work force. This should include education on the digital economy that can suit the country’s large and young population.