Charting a Blueprint for the Future is the Department of Foreign Affairs’ attempt, through the Office of the Undersecretary for International Economic Relations (OUIER), to document the analytical framework that guided the formulation of priorities the Philippines is advancing as Chair of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in 2015.
The Philippines’ vision for APEC 2015 is a sustainable, prosperous, and cohesive region that places inclusive development and a people-centered agenda at the heart of economic integration in the Asia-Pacific. In addition to domestic goals, the Philippine substantive agenda also takes into account the socio-economic and geopolitical trends in the region even beyond 2015 and, more importantly, the Philippines’ role in APEC and how it can maximize benefits through cooperation with other member economies.
Faced with economic uncertainties, the greatest challenge not only in the Philippines but also across the region is how to sustain growth, no matter how modest, and make it felt at all levels of society.
Thus, the theme, “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World,” captures our aspirations in democratizing the fruits of economic growth—empowering individuals, businesses, and communities to take advantage of the opportunities of regional economic integration, as well as withstand and address economic risks and challenges such as rising income gaps and economic inequity, natural disasters, and food security—through the following priority areas: (1) enhancing the regional economic integration agenda; (2) fostering MSMEs’ participation in regional and global markets; (3) investing in human capital development; and (4) building sustainable and resilient communities.
From the findings and recommendations of the economic policy working papers in these two volumes, the following conclusions can be drawn:
First, regional economic integration can be seen through the prism of connectivity. As we move towards greater connectivity, we need to continue to build sustainable and resilient physical infrastructure, improve on our institutions through economic, structural and regulatory reforms, and connect our businesses through better technology and human resource development. We must carry on our work in ensuring efficient trade facilitation, enhancing trade in services, strengthening financial markets, and establishing more inclusive and resilient global value and production chains.
Second, MSMEs have a crucial role in generating employment, in serving as an engine of development, and in catalyzing inclusive growth. MSMEs across the region drive economic growth but are faced with challenges that require varied and targeted policy responses and approaches, including the need to remove barriers to entry to ensure greater access to finance, technology, training programs and tools, and bigger markets.
Third, the role of human resources in economic development is a shared and fundamental concern of APEC. Thus, there is need to invest fully in our peoples as core drivers of our competitiveness through supporting efforts in cross-border education, promoting science and technology education and innovation, and developing job skills needed by business in the 21st century.
Fourth, the shift in nature and scope of the natural calamities that affect the APEC region as a whole can no longer be dismissed. As trade in the Asia-Pacific continues to be integrated and interlinked by production and supply chains, cooperation in disaster risk reduction and management, and resilient infrastructure becomes more urgent. In ensuring disaster resiliency, we enhance business continuity and sustainability. Sustainability is also key for advancing a Blue Economy vision and in strengthening food security.
The blueprint for the future is thus charted—with the hope that the vision of inclusive growth will become the “north star” that will guide the way towards a more sustainable and prosperous Philippines and Asia-Pacific region.
Priority 1: Enhancing the Regional Economic Integration Agenda
Supporting the WTO and Pathways to the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific
Dr. Erlinda M. Medalla and Angelica B. Maddawin
APEC 2015: Global Value Chains and Services
Dr. Ramonette B. Serafica
People-to-People Tourism in APEC: Facilitating Cross-Border Entry and Exit, with Special Focus on ASEAN
Oscar F. Picazo, Soraya Ututalum, and Nina Ashley de la Cruz
Toward and Beyond Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit 2015: Key Issues and Challenges of Professional Service Mobility
Stephanie Rose E. Flores, Kathrina G. Gonzales, and Aniceto C. Orbeta, Jr.
Supply Chain Connectivity: Enhancing Participation in the Global Supply Chain
Epictetus E. Patalinghugply Chain Connectivity: Enhancing Participation
Priority 2: Fostering Small and Medium Enterprises’ Participation in Regional and Global Markets
Promoting Coherence in Philippine Policies, Laws, Rules, and Regulations that Encourage the Growth and Development of Small and Medium Enterprises into Active Participants in the Global and Regional Economy
Lai-Lynn Angelica B. Barcenas, Maria Theresa M. Bautista, and Joan P. Serrano
Priority 3: Investing in Human Capital Development
Establishing the Linkages of Human Resource Development with Inclusive Growth
Tereso S. Tullao, Jr., Christopher James Cabuay, and Daniel Hofileña
Priority 4: Building Sustainable and Resilient Communities
Inputs for Philippine Hosting of APEC 2015: Food Security
Roehlano M. Briones, Ivory Myka R. Galang, and Danilo C. Israel
Deepening Regional Cooperation for Disaster Recovery and Reconstruction: A Proposal for Proactive Approach to Risk Financing
Cathy G. Vidar and Erlinda M. Medalla
Building Philippine MSMEs’ Resilience to Natural Disasters
Marife M. Ballesteros and Sonny N. Domingo
Valuing the Blue Economy Using a Philippine Lens
Rhodora Azanza, Porfirio Aliño, Reniel Cabral, Marie Antonette Juinio-Meñez, Ronald U. Mendoza, and Charles Siriban