MANILA — The Philippines is set to launch the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2015 on Dec. 1 this year, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said in a statement.
DTI Secretary Gregory L. Domingo told reporters that President Benigno S. Aquino III will be present in the APEC 2015 launching at Green Sun in Makati City on Monday.
Prior to the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting (AELM), the concluding part of APEC Summit, there will be series of meetings from the Senior Officials Meetings (SOMs) to the APEC Ministerial Meetings (AMMs) that will run starting December this year until AELM starts in November next year.
“While the Department of Trade and Industry has lined up several activities as the country chairs APEC in 2015 and hosts the 23rd APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, we aim to spur greater private sector participation and generate new prospects for local and foreign businesses to flourish,” said Domingo.
The DTI chief said that the local industries, particularly the small and medium enterprises (SMEs), should take advantage of the country’s hosting of APEC Summit.
He also said that the opportunity of hosting the APEC Summit would further boost the local economy.
In a previous interview, Domingo said he would push for easier trade rules for SMEs during APEC meetings on SMEs and at the Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT).
He said facilitating SMEs to global trade by simplifying rules and procedures for this sector would help them to connect to the global market.
“The current situation is this: SMEs are strongly opposing trade liberalization because they don’t see its benefits to them. They only see that goods from overseas enter the local market at low or zero duty while they cannot export to other countries because their businesses are small and they cannot fill up the voluminous documents and follow all those global trade procedures,” Domingo said.
“What we are pushing is to simplify the rules for SMEs in terms of exporting to other countries for them to see the benefit of free trade because there are big opportunities in free trade,” he said.
“We strongly believe that regional economic integration should work towards empowering the Filipino people and achieving inclusive growth in the country. Thus, we will work with other APEC member economies towards this goal and complement it with frameworks and policies that will benefit all in the Asia-Pacific region,” the DTI chief concluded.