TRADE Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual called on his counterparts at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Ministers Responsible for Trade (APEC MRT) meeting to make the World Trade Organization (WTO) more “effective and responsive” in addressing modern challenges, such as keeping pace with technological developments, among others.
A statement issued by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) last Saturday said Pascual stressed anew that international trade is a “strong force” that can accelerate the achievement of sustainability goals and promote inclusiveness.
The Trade chief said digital trade has “immense potential” to promote inclusive growth and development, as it is a “good equalizer” in business.
Likewise, he noted the DTI’s various initiatives to support micro-scale, small-sized and medium-scale enterprises (MSMEs).
Pascual highlighted the 1,400 business centers across the country. He said these centers assist small merchants in digitalization that will enable them to reach wider markets and earn bigger profit, which will also assist in the digital transition of MSMEs.
To back this domestic initiative, the DTI chief brought the call to the international stage. The DTI said Pascual underscored the need for modern rules to keep pace with the digital economy and technological developments yet while being consistent with the country’s sustainability and inclusive trade agenda.
PASCUAL also shared that the Philippines has joined in the “successful” conclusion of negotiations on domestic regulation and continues to support the work on developing disciplines on e-commerce and investment facilitation.
As for other agreements at the WTO, the Philippines’s Trade chief also highlighted the benefits of the conclusion of the Fisheries Subsidies Agreement.
“The new rules will make a major contribution for ocean sustainability by prohibiting harmful fisheries subsidies. This will help prevent the depletion of fish stocks and in the process benefit our small-scale fishers,” Pascual said.
Given the importance of the agreement, Pascual also conveyed that the Philippines is now working on its timely ratification.
Months ahead of the 13th Ministerial conference of the WTO in Abu Dhabi in February next year, Pascual underscored the need to have an outcome on agriculture to stress WTO’s role in charting a path to long-term food security and development.
The DTI official also shared that Manila has “stepped up efforts on the implementation” of its “Greening the Manufacturing Industry” roadmap, “with measures being undertaken to support investments in renewable energy sources, promote sustainable agriculture and create green jobs.”
“We envision to increase the share of renewable energy in the power generation mix to 35 percent by 2030 and 50 percent by 2040,” Pascual added.