• PH wants Boracay Agenda monitored

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    The Philippines is planning to propose a “reporting template” in the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings to start next month in Peru, to be used to assess and monitor progress on the implementation of the Boracay Action Agenda to Globalize MSMEs or micro, small and medium enterprises (BAA-MSME).

    In a statement, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said the country would propose the template during the APEC First Senior Officials Meeting (SOM1) in Lima, Peru on March 3 to 4.

    The department said the template could be used by APEC committees, working groups, and sub-fora to track developments in the implementation of BAA-MSME from 2016 to 2020. A mid-term review of the developments of member economy initiatives in support of the BAA-MSME is slated in 2018.

    The BAA-MSME is an implementation plan endorsed by APEC member economies at the APEC Concluding Senior Officials Meeting (CSOM) in Manila last November.

    The plan contains concrete intervention and programs that aims to integrate APEC MSMEs in international markets through global value chains or as direct exporters of finished goods and services. It also lists initiatives such as utilizing trade facilitation, trade finance, and e-commerce that addresses trade and non-trade barriers to MSMEs trading internationally.

    “We will build on our work last year and continue our advocacy to mainstream micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Asia Pacific trade,” Trade Secretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo said in a statement.

    “The Peru meetings will give us the opportunity to discuss the progress of the implementation of the Boracay Action Agenda among APEC member economies,” added Rodolfo, who will also head the Philippine delegation at the SOM1.

    The Philippines will be represented by Trade and Foreign Affairs officials at the APEC SOM1 meeting. This year’s meetings, hosted by Peru, have for a theme “Quality Growth and Human Development.” It is focused on advancing APEC economic integration and quality growth, enhancing the regional food market, modernization of MSMEs, and human capital development.

    At the meeting, Rodolfo said the Philippine delegation will encourage APEC member economies to update and explore ways to expand available information on the APEC Trade Repository (APEC TR), which serves as the single online reference – much like a database – of member economies’ trade and tariff information. The APEC TR was launched in the Philippines last year.

    “Transparency through enhanced information sharing is a priority. The development of the APEC TR aims to expand available information, making it more useful and relevant to businesses, regardless of its size,” the trade undersecretary said.

    Apart from the proposing a reporting template for the BAA-MSMEs and encouraging updates of the APEC TR, Rodolfo said the Philippines will also raise regional cooperation through the APEC Services Cooperation Framework (ASCF).

    The ASCF is a broad-based approach to competitiveness of the services sector, ensuring up-to-date responses to economic, market and technological developments

    Rodolfo said this framework is in line with DTI’s ongoing agenda to improve the competitiveness of the local enterprises in the services sector, particularly among MSMEs which are vital to the global value chains.

    “Concrete measures, pressing for greater participation of MSMEs in regional and global markets, either as direct exporters or as providers of vital support and complementation to larger enterprises, will strengthen the foundation for balanced, sustained, and inclusive growth in our country,” he said.

    MSMEs account for over 99 percent of businesses in the country and employs more than half of the domestic workforce.

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