THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), as chairman of the Asean Economic Ministers (AEM) meeting and the Asean Committee on Business and Investment Promotion (CBIP), announced on Tuesday the year-long programs that will be held to complement the country’s strategic priorities and deliverables for the Asean Economic Community (AEC).
“As we host the Asean 2017 Summit, the Philippines is one with the Asean in increasing trade and investments in the region; in integrating micro, small and medium enterprises [MSMEs] in the digital economy for greater access to trade information, global market and value chain, and finance, promoting youth and women entrepreneurship; and in increasing cooperation within the region and connectivity to the rest of the world,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said during the formal launch of the Asean 2017 Business and Investment Program on Tuesday.
Key events lined up for the year include the 50th Asean Ministerial Meeting (AMM) in April, the 49th Asean Economic Ministers (AEM) meeting and the Leaders’ Summit, and an Asean MSMEs-Mentors Conference, which will bring together Asean mentors who can equip Asean local community enablers with the necessary information on access to capital, markets, Asean industries and innovation.
An Asean Creative Cities Forum and Exhibit will also be held, showcasing initiatives of 10 Asean Member States (AMS) in making culture and creativity a driving force for sustainable development and urban regeneration, Lopez added.
Another event is Taste Asean as the Philippines holds an International Food Exposition (Ifex) in May. “Ifex will showcase the best food brands from Southeast Asia and its partner countries,” Lopez said.
The DTI noted that the Asean region is now the third largest market in the world with over 620 million people, the third largest economy in Asia, and the seventh largest economy in the world with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.3 trillion.
Lopez urged businesses, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders to maximize the opportunities and benefits from the AEC, noting that the AEC’s four pillars are the establishment of a single market and production base, a highly competitive economic region, a region of equitable economic development, and a region fully integrated into global economy.