MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines aims to attract more foreign investments as well as promote the integration of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in global value chains through its hosting of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings next year.
Speaking at the APEC Philippines 2015 National Launch held late Monday, Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said the Philippines’ hosting of the APEC next year is an extraordinary opportunity to showcase to the world what the country has to offer.
As such, Domingo encouraged local businesses to invite their partners and other foreign companies to come to the country and check out opportunities here.
“From our experience, the most powerful promotion tool for foreign investments is to bring those companies here to see for themselves what we have to offer. In 2015, we invite you our partners to leverage on our hosting of APEC to bring your foreign counterparts here to see with their own eyes that now is the best time to invest in the Philippines,” he said.
Trade Undersecretary Ponciano Manalo Jr. added, the Philippines not only has an improving business climate, but also a big market and a young skilled workforce.
“With 100 million strong and young individuals with a very modern outlook, we are a business destination offering vast potential which simply cannot be ignored. As we reach the demographic sweet spot, investors looking to tap the skills, talent, and the creativity of Filipinos will see that we have the numbers to support and sustain business expansion for decades to come,” he said.
Apart from attracting more foreign investments to achieve inclusive economic growth, the APEC hosting next year is also seen to provide a venue to promote the competitiveness of SMEs.
“As the country prepares for its chairmanship of APEC 2015, we have identified several issues on trade and investment liberalisation and facilitation vital to improve the businesses and to encourage inclusive growth,” Domingo said.
In the Philippines, the micro, SME sector is considered a key contributor to economic growth as it accounts for 99 percent of total businesses and 65 percent of jobs generated by all types of establishments.
Meanwhile, the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development estimates that 80 percent of gross global exports are tied to global value chains.
“To achieve inclusive growth, it is imperative that our SMEs must be competitive and be able to participate in global value chains,” Domingo said.
As the incoming chair of the APEC 2015, the country is encouraging member-economies to improve their institutional support for SMEs.
“The Philippines will lead projects that will promote and harness synergistic linkages between SMEs and large firms, as well as to enable SMEs to benefit from regional economic integration,” Domingo said.
The country is also promoting initiatives focused on trade facilitation as well as upgrades in customs and rules of origin to provide enterprises an enabling environment where they could expand their markets.
Aside from Manila, APEC meetings next year would also be held in other regions such as Legazpi, Clark-Pampanga, Bagac-Bataan, Boracay, Bacolod, Iloilo, Tagaytay and Cebu.
“By going to the regions, we likewise will be making a very important point. As the global spotlight shines on different locations around the country, our guests will discover a consistency in the high standards of professionalism and high quality of skills, talent, and creativity of our people,” Domingo said.
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