Trade Chief expressed support towards RCEP in WEF, highlighted impact on sustained upward economic growth trajectory

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DAVOS, SWITZERLAND—Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual participated in several forums and discussions at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, which tackled crucial post-pandemic challenges, such as the future of work, next-generation industrial strategies, responsible globalization, MSMEs going global, and realizing the full potential of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), among others.

Secretary Pascual also had several bilateral meetings with companies and organizations interested in the Philippines. Given the WEF’s mission to bring together public-private cooperation from all over the world, the Philippine delegation to WEF, including the DTI, took this opportunity to highlight the administration’s priority programs to uplift the lives of all Filipinos and attract strategic trade and investments into the Philippines.

Further, Secretary Pascual joined the discussion on forming a Jobs Consortium – Towards a New Vision for the Future of Work and exchanged views with other government and private sector top executives on a common vision for a better future of work. They agreed that the jobs consortium should promote alignment and action on three key areas: (1) boosting labor market foresight, (2) identifying good job creation investments in the new economy, and (3) supporting job quality, fair wages, and dynamic job transitions. The consortium’s next meetings will be held during the WEF’s Jobs Summit in May 2023 in Geneva, Sustainable Development Impact Meetings in September 2023 in New York, and the Annual Meeting in January 2024, once again in Davos.

As the world continues to face new challenges and opportunities in developing new industries and the way we work, Secretary Pascual also participated in a workshop on the Next Generation Industrial Strategies. This session brought together industrial CEOs and industry ministers to discuss concrete proposals for strengthening public-private cooperation to accelerate the responsible transformation of global manufacturing systems.

Likewise, Secretary Pascual attended a Trade and Investment Leadership Lunch, which convened corporate CEOs and trade ministers to address the uncertainties for continued global economic cooperation climate issues, technological changes, geopolitical polarization, supply concentration risks, and supply chain disruptions. The agenda included ensuring open and resilient markets in a fragmented world, easing physical and digital flows, and supporting equitable and sustainable value chains. During this engagement, Secretary Pascual pointed out that the ongoing reconfiguration of global value chains creates opportunities for emerging economies like the Philippines to attract foreign investments and participate in the supply and value chains of global industries.

Meanwhile, the multilateral meeting on MSMEs Going Global brought together the President of the Inter-American Development Bank, the Secretary General of the World Customs Organization, industry ministers, executives of financial institutions, and MSME advocates to discuss the challenges faced by MSMEs in accessing global markets. The participants highlighted problems and solutions around financing and digital tools. Here, Secretary Pascual shared DTI’s continuous efforts to facilitate the digital transformation of Philippine MSMEs and their access to modern technology, affordable financing, and wider markets. Aside from him, another participant from the Philippines was Therese Fernandez-Ruiz, President & Founding Partner of Intentionality, Inc., which promotes handmade products of Philippine artisans.

Secretary Pascual also participated in the workshop on realizing the full potential of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). During this workshop, he mentioned that “the full implementation and utilization of the Agreement will fuel the recovery and sustained growth of the region. It will also complement the economic recovery efforts implemented by the Philippine government, thereby ensuring the continuity of our upward economic growth trajectory.”

The Trade Chief also had the opportunity to sit down with Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Chairman Nobuhiko Sasaki and discussed the ongoing trade and investment partnership in advancing the economic relations between the two countries. JETRO also shared its proposed activities for the upcoming Presidential Visit to Japan, which include the extension of the Memorandum of Cooperation (MOC) on investment. JETRO Chairman also noted the Philippine hosting of the Asian Trade Promotion Forum (ATPF) in 2024.

Aside from this bilateral meeting, Secretary Pascual also met with, Grab CEO and Co-Founder Anthony Tan, who shared the company’s existing operations and expansion plans in the country, and Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda, who explained the latest developments in online learning and his interest to broaden Coursera’s engagements in the Philippines.

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