• UK official urges ‘open economy’

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    Those suggesting that Asia’s economic success has called into question the value of open economies and societies are drawing the wrong conclusions, according to the United Kingdom Foreign Minister William Hague.

    The UK official on Thursday outlined five principles that underpin sustainable growth and will be crucial for the stability and success of countries adapting to a changing world: a lean and effective public sector that allows market forces to drive enterprise and finance; the rule of law; respect and protection for individual freedoms; a commitment to free trade; and investment in human capital and infrastructure.

    Hague also recognized the strategic position of Southeast Asian astride the world’s major trading arteries.

    “A stable, secure and prosperous Asia Pacific will only be achieved in the long term if countries in this region are able to change, to innovate, to stay competitive through strengthening free trade, individual liberty and the rule of law. My message today is that as we strengthen our ties with countries across Asia, we will of course have a particularly close bond with nations that share our values most closely and those that are ready to take the reforms necessary to advance free and open societies,” he said.

    “In the long term, Asean [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] will also reinforce regional stability through the connections it builds between people, businesses and governments, and its increasing focus on the values of human rights and open and accountable government,” Hague added.

    The UK is a leading investor in the Philippines, being the fourth highest overall source of foreign direct investment into the country as of 2013, Export of goods from the UK to the Philippines from January to September 2013 was up 13 percent year-on-year.

    There are over 200 British companies present in various industries in the Philippines, including in oil and gas, retail, healthcare, business process outsourcing and education.
    There are more than 250,000 Filipinos living in the UK.

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