In photo: DTI Secretary Fred Pascual during his lunchtime address at the IPEF Clean Economy Investor Forum

Singapore—Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual presented the Philippines’ initiatives to promote sustainable economic growth at the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) Clean Economy Investor Forum at the Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Centre on June 6, 2024.

“While pursuing robust economic growth, we remain committed to ensuring our growth is inclusive and sustainable. Despite the setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have maintained steady gross domestic product (GDP) growth, expanded our middle class, and diversified our industrial base,” said Secretary Pascual.

“Our strategy is anchored in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, focusing on promoting sustainable economic growth, building resilient infrastructure, fostering innovation, and ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns,” the trade chief added.

During the forum, Secretary Pascual cited the government’s strategies in driving the Philippines’ renewable energy transformation. The Philippine Energy Plan sets aggressive targets for offshore wind, waste-to-energy projects, and expanding rooftop solar programs.  This is accelerated through enhanced tax incentives that support the growth of green industries, attracting significant investment opportunities, as well as a policy on foreign ownership that allows 100% foreign ownership in renewable energy projects.

Additionally, the trade chief talked about the issuance of Executive Order No. 18, which introduced “green lanes” to expedite the approval processes for strategic investments, including a pioneering 1.3-gigawatt floating solar project on Laguna Lake.

The Philippine government envisions to transform the Philippines into a hub for green and sustainable manufacturing. Secretary Pascual stressed the country’s transition to electric vehicles (EVs) and encouraged investments in EV assembly, charging stations, automotive electronics, battery manufacturing, and mineral processing.

The country has been contributing to the global sustainability agenda, which includes the ratification of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Fisheries Subsidies and co-sponsorship of the Dialogue on Plastics Pollution and Environmentally Sustainable Plastics Trade. Furthermore, the country is compliant with tariff reduction commitments under the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Environmental Goods List, and a member of the Coalition of Trade Ministers on Climate.

With regard to circular economy and waste management, the Philippines supports the ASEAN Economic Community’s Framework for the Circular Economy where programs like the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) encourage manufacturers to consider the entire lifecycle of their products.

Emphasizing the crucial role of public-private partnerships in addressing climate change, Secretary Pascual called for the development of resilient infrastructure that incorporates eco-conscious construction methods and disaster preparedness technologies. He invited governments, industries, and investors to forge new partnerships and increase investments in sustainable development.

The IPEF Clean Economy Investor Forum featured notable speakers and discussions. The Welcome Dinner on June 5 included remarks by Grace Fu, Minister for Trade Relations of Singapore, and Gina Raimondo, Secretary of Commerce of the United States, followed by a keynote address by Gan Kim Yong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade and Industry of Singapore, and a conversation with President Tharman Shanmugaratnam of Singapore.

The investor forum included keynote speeches from Prime Minister Lawrence Wong of Singapore and Gina Raimondo, and panel discussions on sustainable infrastructure investment, climate technology, trade and investment policies for sustainable growth, and clean energy opportunities. Lunchtime addresses were delivered by Saito Ken, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry of Japan; Nguyen Hong Dien, Trade Minister of Vietnam; and Fred Pascual, Secretary for Trade and Industry of the Philippines. ♦

Date of release: 06 June 2024