Da Nang, Viet Nam— President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday, November 9, said the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies need the cooperation of the business community in ensuring that the benefits of free trade and globalization are felt by all, particularly the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
“APEC needs the cooperation of the business community to addressing the pessimism and suspicion of those who do not feel the benefits of free trade and globalization,” President Duterte said in his Summit keynote address at the APEC CEO Summit on “Regional Economic Integration – Lessons Learnt from ASEAN” held at the Ariyana Da Nang Exhibition and Convention Centre.
Duterte said that as leaders in their respective fields, businessmen must ensure that globalization does not only lead to wealth generation, but equitably, to wealth distribution.
The President then urged big businesses to extend a helping hand to micro, small and medium enterprises, “To the extent that you can involve as many MSMEs in your own supply chains in your own country and retail operations.”
“Through this, you do not only integrate them in the way you do business, you also unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of our peoples,” President Duterte said.
The President meanwhile said that to unleash the full potential of globalization, APEC must create an inclusive environment where everyone has the opportunity for growth.
“This can be achieved through the promotion of competition, complementation, cooperation among business,” he said.
Duterte said another solution is the adoption of policies that would allow developing countries to get a larger share of the global value chain.
“This can be accomplished by providing greater market access for their citizens and investing in education, training, and other capacity-building opportunities,” he said.
“We would like to work with you not only to pursue growth through regional economic integration, but also to forge a more humane world characterized by shared peace and optimism in the future,” he added.
The President meanwhile said there should remedial measures to counter the negative effects of globalization. “Globalization, to a certain extent, has really damaged poor economies,” Duterte said in response to a question from the audience.
“Some of the bright boys in one country are really exploited to go to another country, thereby, expanding their base of knowledge, digital and otherwise… it behooves upon us really to help the other develop their own capacity-building,” he said.
“Unless it is done, that you have to educate the others who are left behind, and teach him the digital age, the advantages of it, they will remain where they are,” he added.
Duterte said globalization has to be addressed and it should start in APEC and ASEAN. “We have to have integration, cohesiveness, and we must act as one,” he said.