As APEC 2015 concludes, Aquino eyes TPP

Aaron Lozada,

Posted at Nov 20 2015 01:37 AM

MANILA - President Benigno S. Aquino III on Thursday reiterated the Philippines' desire to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) along with US and Australia, among others.

This comes after the conclusion of the first day of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting on Wednesday.

In a speech delivered on Thursday during the press conference at the International Media Center in Pasay City, Aquino said that the country's inclusion in the TPP will give the Philippines "access to a far larger market."

Aquino said a number of APEC economic leaders are backing the Philippines' inclusion in the TPP.

"A number of leaders also expressed their support for the Philippines joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership, once it comes into force. This is a very encouraging sign; we of course want to join the TPP because it offers access to a far larger market. The USA and Australia, among other economies, expressed their support for this particular endeavor," Aquino said.


Aquino also stressed that unlike other APEC meeting in the past which delved on the technical aspects of economic partnerships, the APEC meetings conducted in Manila "have taken a broader approach."

"We have sought to address the challenges presented by the ever-changing global economic milieu," Aquino said.

Technological innovation and greater inclusivity in economies were among the challenges addressed by economic leaders.

"Since inclusive growth has always been the guiding principle of our administration, we are proud to have put this approach front and center throughout our hosting APEC this year," Aquino stressed.

[ READ: PNoy rallies leaders behind PH's APEC agenda]

Aquino explained that taking a broader approach has helped the member-economies refocus its discussion towards the people.

"By balancing the discussions in APEC between the technical aspects of trade, and its implications on the social and environmental challenges of growth, we have refocused our discussions towards all our people-the ones whose lives we, as leaders, are pledged to improve," he said.


Aquino revealed that the APEC leaders have agreed on frameworks under which these challenges shall be addressed by member-economies.

The economic leaders have adopted the APEC Strategy for Strengthening Quality Growth, which will serve as guide for member-economies in "undertaking robust, comprehensive, and ambitious structural reforms over the next five years."

"This strategy will help APEC promote increased growth through structural reform," Aquino assured.

Also, the APEC leaders have approved the APEC Services Cooperation Framework, which will provide member economies a "goal-driven roadmap [...] to achieve over the next decade, to help the sector thrive."

Aquino underscored the importance of the services sector as it starts to become a more important part of the economic equation.

The services sector, according to Aquino, makes up approximately two-thirds of the GDP in the APEC region, and he stressed the need to put more emphasis and thought into making this sector even more competitive.


Aquino revealed that the Philippines has taken the opportunity to meet with other APEC leaders of economies, as well as leaders in the private sector, during the APEC meetings.

The Philippines, according to the President, has taken its existing partnerships with APEC member-economies, such as Mexico, Papua New Guinea, Vietnam and Australia to a new level.

Aquino said that the Philippines and Mexico has committed to work together "to combat drug trafficking, which is a common concern of our peoples."

The Philippines has likewise offered assistance to Papua New Guinea "in supporting their agriculture sector."

The country's strategic partnership with Vietnam and its comprehensive partnership with Australia have likewise been formalized this week.

Aquino also took the opportunity to announce the turnover of US Navy ships to the Philippines.

"We were also pleased to hear the news that the USA would be turning over to the Philippines a research vessel and a coast guard cutter which will boost the capabilities of our Navy," Aquino said.

[ READ: Obama: US to give 2 more ships to PH]

Aquino did not miss the opportunity to express his gratitude to the people who made the event possible.

"For all these successes, I thank all those who worked tirelessly to make this event possible. Most importantly, I am grateful to our countrymen who have expressed their support for our hosting," Aquino said.

"All my fellow leaders heaped praise on how our people have welcomed them, and their words really made me swell up with pride. Truly, it is a singular honor to lead such a great people. I am certain that, with your continued support, there is absolutely no doubt that the Philippines will continue its progress for years, if not generations to come," he added.