The Philippines, which plays host to the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit this year, expects trade with 20 APEC member economies increasing by over 6.8 percent annually to about $109.62 billion in 2015.
Ambassador Ma. Angelina Sta. Catalina, Deputy Director-General of the Committee on Conference Management Services of the APEC2015 National Organizing Council, said the country’s hosting of APEC widens opportunities for increased regional trade in goods and services, specifically intra-APEC trade, including global trade.
Sta. Catalina cited a trend indicating Philippine trade growing by about 6.8 percent every year since its APEC membership in 1989.
“So if there has been an improvement in our trade figures as a consequence of APEC, then we are looking forward to more increased trade because of the kind of initiatives that we are undertaking in the various discussions,” she said in a press briefing.
The ambassador said the Philippines total external trade with APEC members reached $96.104 billion, or 80.7 percent of the country’s entire trade, in 2013.
Philippine exports amounted to $47.63 billion, or 84 percent of the country’s total exports to the world; while imports reached $48.47 billion, or 77.7 percent of the total imports.
“We do have a balance trade here (APEC) in our favor … There is a lot of trade that takes place among different APEC economies,” Sta. Catalina said.
Apart from increased trade opportunities, she said the Philippines was also benefiting from APEC’s hosting through increased investment funds.
“(These are) funds which will fuel our national capacity to develop our human capital, to improve our physical infrastructure and to further assist and develop financial and economic enterprises, in other words our SMEs (small and medium enterprises), which we see as our engines of growth,” she added.
Cebu City is hosting the 16-day APEC Third Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) and Related Meetings until Sept. 6.
Following the SOM are two Ministerial-level meetings: the Structural Reform Ministerial Meeting (SRMM) from Sept. 7 to 8 and the Finance Ministerial Meeting (FMM) on Sept. 9 to 11. The meetings will be chaired by the National Economic Development Authority (NEDA) and the Department of Finance (DOF), respectively.