By Genalyn Kabiling
DA NANG, Vietnam — Promoting inclusive economic growth and development of micro and small businesses would be part of President Duterte’s mission when he attends a regional summit in Vietnam this week.
The Philippine leader is scheduled to depart Manila for the city of Da Nang tomorrow afternoon, November 8, to attend the 25th Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit from November 9 to 11.
Duterte would join 20 other leaders from Asia Pacific economies, including US President Donald Trump, Russian President Vladimir Putin, China President Xi Jinping, and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, for the annual talks on facilitating trade and investment liberalization, business facilitation, and economic and technical cooperation.
“APEC is one of the key regional groupings that we, or platform that the Philippines participate in to broaden our advocacies and growth concerns or promotions in the region,” Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Leo Herrera-Lim said in a recent Palace news conference.
“In the 2017 APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting, the key priorities of the Philippines would be full participation of the micro, small and medium enterprises in the global economy, sustainable and inclusive growth, connectivity and human resources development,” he added.
Lim noted that the government has placed inclusive growth and pro-poor agenda as the “hallmarks of its development plan.” “This ties into bringing MSMEs into the global value chain,” Lim said.
Based on his schedule, the President and his delegation of Cabinet members are expected to arrive tomorrow night in Da Nang, a popular resort city chosen as this year’s venue of the APEC summit.
Duterte’s official activity starts on Thursday with his participation to the APEC CEO summit at the Da Nang Exhibition and Convention Center. He is expected to deliver a keynote address on “Regional economic integration – lessons learnt from ASEAN” during the summit session.
On Friday, the President and other leaders would attend a dialogue with the APEC Business Advisory Council, followed by the APEC-ASEAN informal dialogue at Furama Resort.
Vietnam President Tran Das Quang is expected to officially welcome the APEC Leaders and Spouses and host a gala dinner and cultural performance on Friday night.
On Saturday, the APEC summit formally opens with the economic leaders holding its first retreat on “Growth Inclusion and Sustainable Employment in the Digital Age” at the Intercontinental Da Nang Resort.
The APEC leaders would also pose for the traditional family photo before going on a working lunch on “Fostering Shared Future.”
The agenda of the second retreat of the APEC leaders would focus on “New Drivers for Regional Trade, Investment, and Connectivity,” before wrapping up the summit talks. The APEC leaders are expected to issue a declaration after the flurry of meetings.
On the sidelines of the summit, the President is expected to meet Trump for the first time since their historic elections.
“While I understand there will be bilateral talks, I don’t think it will be as extensive as his bilateral talks here in Manila, plus the fact that he will be spending a whole — an extra day in Manila,” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. said.
“So I expect that they would have more opportunity to interact with each other here in Manila,” he said referring to ASEAN summit that would be attended by Trump.
Aside from Trump, the President’s bilateral meetings with the leaders of Russia, China and Vietnam are also reportedly being arranged by the Palace.
Duterte, accompanied by several Cabinet members, would stay in Vietnam until November 11, before leading the country’s hosting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit.
Among the members of the President’s delegation are Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Cayetano, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Socio-economic planning secretary Ernesto Pernia, Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, and Roque.
At present , the Philippines’ top export partners are APEC member economies, such as Japan, USA, China and Singapore. The country’s top tourist markets are also APEC members such as Korea, US, China and Japan.
APEC member economies are Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United States, and Vietnam.
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