Highlighting the best of Phl in Davos

Trade Secretary Fred Pascual

Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Fred Pascual participated in several forums and discussions at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland, that tackled crucial post-pandemic challenges such as the future of work, next-generation industrial strategies, responsible globalization, MSMEs going global, and realizing the full potential of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, among others.

The Philippine delegation to WEF, including the DTI, took the opportunity to highlight the Marcos administration’s priority programs to improve the Philippine economy by attracting strategic trade and investments into the country.

A discussion with government and private sector delegates on the topic of “Jobs Consortium–Towards a New Vision for the Future of Work” led to the consensus that the jobs consortium should promote alignment and action on three key areas: (1) boosting labor market foresight, (2) identifying good job creation investments in the new economy, and (3) supporting job quality, fair wages, and dynamic job transitions.

The consortium’s next meetings will be held during the WEF’s Jobs Summit in May 2023 in Geneva, Sustainable Development Impact Meetings in September 2023 in New York, and the Annual Meeting in January 2024, once again in Davos.

Pascual also participated in a workshop on the Next Generation Industrial Strategies, which brought together industrial CEOs and industry ministers to discuss concrete proposals for strengthening public-private cooperation in the responsible transformation of global manufacturing systems.

A Trade and Investment Leadership Lunch with corporate CEOs and trade ministers, meanwhile, sought to address global economic cooperation on climate issues, technological changes, geopolitical polarization, supply concentration risks, and supply chain disruptions. The agenda included ensuring open and resilient markets in a fragmented world, easing physical and digital flows, and supporting equitable and sustainable value chains.

The ongoing reconfiguration of global value chains, according to Pascual, creates opportunities for emerging economies like the Philippines to attract foreign investments and participate in the supply and value chains of global industries.

The multilateral meeting on MSMEs Going Global brought together the President of the Inter-American Development Bank, the Secretary General of the World Customs Organization, industry ministers, executives of financial institutions, and MSME advocates to discuss the challenges faced by MSMEs in accessing global markets. The participants highlighted problems and solutions around financing and digital tools, with the DTI sharing its continuous efforts to facilitate the digital transformation of Philippine MSMEs and their access to modern technology, affordable financing, and wider markets.

Therese Fernandez-Ruiz, President & Founding Partner of Intentionality, Inc., which promotes handmade products of Philippine artisans, joined Pascual in this forum.

On the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, Pascual said that “the full implementation and utilization of the Agreement will fuel the recovery and sustained growth of the region. It will also complement the economic recovery efforts implemented by the Philippine government, thereby ensuring the continuity of our upward economic growth trajectory.”

Japan External Trade Organization Chairman Nobuhiko Sasaki also sat down with the DTI chief to discuss the ongoing trade and investment partnership between the Philippines and Japan. JETRO shared its proposed activities for the upcoming visit of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to Japan, which includes the extension of the Memorandum of Cooperation on investment, and also welcomed the Philippine hosting of the Asian Trade Promotion Forum in 2024.

Finally, Grab CEO and co-founder Anthony Tan shared with Pascual the company’s operations and expansion plans in the country, while Coursera CEO Jeff Maggioncalda explained the latest developments in online learning and his interest to broaden Coursera’s engagements in the Philippines.

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