Duterte to push for bigger MSME role at APEC Summit

Da Nang City, Vietnam, host of the 2017 APEC Summit (RTVM image)

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Roa Duterte is expected to push for the full participation of the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the global economy during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Da Nang, Viet Nam, a foreign affairs official said Monday, November 6.

In a pre-departure briefing in Malacañang, Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Leo Herrera-Lim said other key priorities of the Philippines during the APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting include sustainable and inclusive growth, connectivity, and human resources development.

“During the past year, the Duterte administration has made inclusive growth and pro-poor agenda the hallmarks of its development plan; and this ties into bringing MSMEs into the global value chain,” said Herrera-Lim.

President Duterte is scheduled to attend the APEC Leaders’ Meeting from November 8 to 11.

Herrera-Lim underscored the importance of the APEC to the Philippines as a regional economic bloc, noting that nine out of the country’s top 10 trading partners were APEC countries.

“I think you can see it in a lot of the documents globally, including sustainable development goals and the development plans of the Philippines. We want to engage pretty much every breathing member of the country into an economic life that suits their purpose and their aspirations,” he said.

With regard to bilateral meetings, the DFA official said the schedule would be finalized after the Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Da Nang on November 8.

He, however, said the President is likely to have bilateral meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin, since the two leaders are reportedly not attending the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Manila.

He likewise said President Duterte might have a bilateral meeting with the leader of Vietnam, being the host of this year’s APEC.

Meanwhile, Herrera Lim said there are several opportunities where President Duterte and United States President Donald Trump could meet during the APEC Summit, such as during the scheduled welcome and gala dinners for world leaders.

“There are several opportunities for exchanges. I think, if you see pretty much a convergence between the two Presidents, It would be: one, on national security, both at the country level and at the regional level; and then number two, the desire to grow the different engines of global economy,” he said when asked what issues the two leaders might discuss.