Sec Ramon Lopez at Business Expo & Conference

MANILA – Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez emphasized the continuous cooperation and collaboration between the government and the private sector in promoting investments and achieving economic growth during the 43rd Philippine Business Conference and Expo on 19 October.

Speaking before officials and members of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the trade chief discussed the “Focused and Strategic (FAST) Action Agenda on Investment“ initiative, which is a project of DTI and the Board of Investments (BOI) to link micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to ASEAN and Global Multinational Enterprises (MNEs).

“With our goal to lower the income gap and uplift the lives of those at the bottom of the pyramid, it is our priority to link our MSMEs to bigger value chains, provide them the necessary tools to compete in the international market, and even export their products abroad,” said Sec. Lopez.

With the Philippines (PH) as the current host of the ASEAN regional meet this year, the FAST Action Agenda on Investment is a key deliverable of PH under the ASEAN economic pillar. 

Sec. Lopez also underscored the potential of the country as an investment destination for both local and foreign investors, citing its export turnaround, improving manufacturing and industry sectors, young population, and market access to ASEAN and other trade partners.

PH’s Foreign Trade Agreements (FTAs) with ASEAN provides it with a 620-million market share, while the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) gives the country a 2.2-billion market reach.

The trade chief was also optimistic of the expansion of the trade preferences arrangements via the Generalized System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) of the EU and the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) of the US.

Further, Sec. Lopez highlighted the 2017 Investment Priorities Program (IPP), a blueprint on the preferred sectors and investments entitled to incentives. The program includes the Inclusive Business (IB) model, which creates greater market access for MSMEs.

The IPP likewise covers the expansion of incentives for manufacturing activities and supports the government’s Manufacturing Resurgence Program (MRP), which creates solid and stable jobs for Filipinos.

“The DTI and BOI are committed to continue providing policy environment and programs that support investment promotion, and increase the participation of MSMEs in the regional and global supply chain”, Sec. Lopez concluded. ♦