DTI Secretary Fred Pascual during the IPEF signing ceremony

Singapore–– At the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) Ministerial Meeting, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual reaffirmed the Philippines’ commitment to regional cooperation and economic integration on 06 June 2024. He highlighted the need for collective action in addressing common global challenges such as clean energy transition and anti-corruption mechanisms.

“It is important for the Philippines that the IPEF Agreements are able to empower partner countries and boost their value propositions as key trade allies and prime locations for strategic, sustainable, and inclusive investments––including by providing access to mechanisms for technical assistance,  capacity-building and other collaborative activities such as best practices and information-sharing, support for infrastructure modernization, workforce and project development, public-private partnerships, and collaboration with the academia,” Secretary Pascual said.

Recognizing the significant advancements made since the signing of the Supply Chain Agreement in San Francisco last fall, the DTI chief welcomed the landmark signing of three key agreements––the Overarching Agreement on the IPEF, the Clean Economy Agreement, and the Fair Economy Agreement.

With the implementation of the Supply Chain Agreement, Secretary Pascual sees that the IPEF partners will be able to achieve their goals of improving supply chain transparency, addressing supply chain crises and vulnerabilities, enhancing the role of workers, and promoting labor rights.

DTI Secretary Fred Pascual delivering his interventions during the IPEF Ministerial meeting

On the Clean Economy Agreement, he stressed that the agreement will provide a framework that is tailored to address the needs and gaps of IPEF partners in the transition to clean economies. He emphasized the importance of the Cooperative Work Programme as it will serve as a platform to exchange ideas and best practices necessary to determine the best approaches toward green transition.

He commended the progress in the existing work on hydrogen and carbon markets, the ongoing discussions on clean electricity, just transition, and sustainable aviation, as well as the recent proposals on embedded emissions accounting, e-waste urban mining, and small modular reactors.

Further, the inaugural Clean Economy Investor Forum demonstrates the countries’ shared commitment to pursue stronger stakeholder engagement and deeper economic ties to drive sustainable, inclusive, and worker-centric growth targeted toward greater economic integration.

Regarding the Fair Economy Agreement, the trade chief emphasized the Philippines’ intention to seek technical assistance in implementing IPEF partners’ commitments under the UN Convention Against Corruption, particularly on bribery. He further stressed the importance of such cooperation in improving transparency and predictability in the business environment across the Indo-Pacific region.

In his closing statement, Secretary Pascual reiterated, “The developments in the IPEF Agreements we have signed and the initiatives and opportunities arising from our commitments therein bring us significantly closer to our vision of a prosperous Indo-Pacific region that is built on secure and resilient supply chains, transition to sustainable and clean economies, and transparency and good governance through robust tax and anti-corruption regimes. The Philippines will continue to actively engage with the rest of the IPEF partners in working towards realizing our aspirations in this endeavor, and I also look forward to touching base with everyone again later this year.”

The Clean Economy Agreement and the Fair Economy Agreement represent two of the four key policy areas of the IPEF – the Clean Economy and Fair Economy Pillars. The other two Pillars of the IPEF are the Trade Pillar and the Supply Chains Pillar. The IPEF Agreement was negotiated to provide an overarching and structural framework for the operationalization and implementation of the four Pillar agreements of the IPEF, upon their respective entry into force. ♦

Date of release: 08 June 2024