MANILA CITY – At a trade forum organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and World Trade Organization (WTO) on 22 March, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Allan B. Gepty, who represented DTI Secretary Fred Pascual, highlighted the potential of trade policy as a powerful tool in tackling climate change.

Gepty emphasized a significant shift in trade conversations.  New Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) now extend beyond market access and rules to include broader considerations such as sustainable development, environmental stewardship, good governance, and social inclusion.

“Once limited to economic transactions, trade has become a cornerstone of development, driving economic growth and fostering prosperity for our people,” Gepty said.

The forum served as a platform for key stakeholders in trade and climate across the region to explore the connection between trade policy and climate initiatives. It assessed how developing member countries can implement trade strategies to achieve climate objectives. Moreover, the forum identified obstacles and yielded an action plan that supports climate efforts through trade measures.

Gepty further stressed the Philippines’ commitment to integrating sustainability principles throughout the creation and implementation of trade policies.

“Sustainability demands that we consider business and profit, as well as the health of our ecosystems, the well-being of our communities, and the resilience of our societies,” the undersecretary said. “It requires us to recognize that prosperity needs a harmonious balance between environmental protection, social equity, and economic growth,” he added