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Government and stakeholders gather to discuss the Philippines’ trade agenda

Government and stakeholders gather to discuss the Philippines’ trade agenda

The Department of Trade and Industry will hold the One Country, One Voice (OCOV) Forum on International Trade, “Seizing Opportunities Amidst the Challenges of International Trade,” on 4 December 2019 at the New World Hotel, Makati City.

The OCOV Forum will bring together thought leaders and practitioners from the government, academia, businesses, embassies and civil society to exchange views on current issues in international trade and identify ways to address the emerging challenges in order to harness the opportunities for the Philippines.

“International trade is a key driver of growth. It promotes prosperity and contributes to the alleviation of poverty in a country, at the same time giving it the capacity to influence the global economy,” said Secretary Ramon M. Lopez.

The uncertainty in global economic recovery and unfair trade practices pose a serious threat to the global trading scene and the economic prospects of countries especially those that are well-entrenched in global value chains and production-sharing networks.

“Never has there been greater political momentum nor more economic evidence of the need to keep the markets free, open, and modern,” according to Secretary Lopez.

The OECD forecast of world GDP growth in 2019 and 2020 were revised down to 3.2% and 3.4% respectively. The World Bank has identified that mounting protectionism could translate into a possible annual decline in global trade of 9%, or over US $2.6 trillion relative to the baseline in 2020.

Nonetheless, the Philippines continues to remain resilient from the negative effects of global trade tensions. In the second quarter of 2019, the Philippines became the second-best performer in terms of exports among ASEAN, with a merchandise export growth of 1.2 percent. In terms of GDP growth, the economy grew 6.2 percent year-on-year in the third quarter of 2019 that is primarily supported by domestic consumption and resilient export trade, mostly of electronic products.

“The Philippines is well-positioned to seize new growth opportunities; our edge lies on our competitive and right-skilled workforce. We must leverage on this and the opportunities brought about by the internet and technology to realize the gains of trade,” Secretary Lopez added.

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The Forum seeks to engage participants in an in-depth discussion on the following issues:

1. Philippine Development and Trade Policy;

2. Rising Global Protectionism: Reflections on Trade Policies; and

3. Navigating New Horizons: Forging Ahead through Strategic Economic Partnerships

Among notable guests are Senator Imee Marcos, Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, and Congressman Joey Salceda who will be sharing their perspectives on the government’s role in fostering an enabling environment to promote inclusive globalization. The forum will also feature former DTI Secretary, Mr. Gregory L. Domingo; former Chief Negotiator of the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), Ambassador Ron Sorini; Solar Philippines President, Mr. Leandro Leviste; Luen Thai Holdings Ltd. Executive Vice President, Mr. Sunny Tan; USTR former Director, Ms. Kellie Hock; APEC Business Advisory Council Member, Mr. Guillermo Luz; and Pacific Economic Cooperation Council Philippine National Committee Chairman, Ambassador Antonio I. Basilio who will provide recommendations on the possible approaches that may adopted by the country to fully utilize the opportunities presented by the current global economic landscape.

Launched in 2011, OCOV is DTI’s main mechanism for broad-based involvement of stakeholders in the trade policymaking process, with the purpose of facilitating transparency and accountability as government undertakes the process of engaging in dialogues, building mutual trust, and arriving at rational, sound and balanced trade policies in pursuit of national development.