Duterte: Asean must push MSME development

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THE Philippines’ economic thrust for inclusive growth will focus on innovating micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) development, President Rodrigo Duterte told the 13th Asean Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) held in Vientiane, Lao PDR.

Such an approach covers e-commerce, youth and women entrepreneurship.

In order to be a global player, Asean must ensure the effective implementation of key economic agreements and the integration of existing sub-regional cooperation frameworks in Asean such as the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle (IMT-GT) and the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), according to the President.

At the Asean Summit 2016, Duterte marked his first participation in the ABIS.


Joining him were Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez and Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd.

The Philippine-Asean Business Advisory Council (PH-ABAC), led by incoming chairman Joey Concepcion, as well as Tessie Sy-Coson and George Barcelon, and the Filipino Entrepreneur Awardees at the 2016 Asean Business Awards, led by Sherill Quintana of Oryspa, were also at the investment forum.

“Hailing from Mindanao, I commit to promote BIMP-EAGA. We intend to open up our other major islands like Mindanao and the Visayas with high quality backbone infrastructure,” the President said.

President Duterte called for support for MSME development and raised expectations towards expanding the Roll-On Roll-Off (RO-RO) facility to Davao-General Santos and Bitung in Indonesia.

“We will work and collaborate with Asean in helping the MSMEs look for all ways to connect them in the countries of Asean and the world. We will work in advancing our policy and regulatory environment providing an affordable and innovative digital platforms, and accessing best practices and financial resources,” he said.

Asean must engage the world in a “robust way” by maximizing Free Trade Areas (FTAs) with Australia and New Zealand, China, India, Japan and Korea, according the President.

Duterte also announced that the Philippines will host the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) senior officials’ meeting in November 2016.

The President noted that Asean needs “stronger resolve and action to combat transnational crime” and that illicit and illegal drug trade undermines “social cohesion, the rule of law and the socio-economic programs of a country.”

The President emphasized that sensibly-crafted and well-implemented laws are imperative towards bringing good governance and order, as well as providing an enabling environment for the country’s progress and prosperity.

“We should act together in concert to ensure that the economic gains we made so far will advance at full speed, so that Asean can confidently play its rightful role as a global player contributing to economic growth and prosperity,” he added.

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