ASEAN, a group of 10 Southeast Asian nations with varying degrees of economic development, yesterday called for “inclusive globalization” in what can be seen as a “backpedaling” to the existing trading model that only heightened economic disparity among people in the region and strongly push for inclusivity where everyone emerges as winners.
“We are committed in having ASEAN’s economic growth through deeper regional integration be inclusive via efforts in complementation, cooperation, and collaboration where everyone emerges as winners,” a statement by the 31st ASEAN Economic Meeting read. This year’s chairmanship is guided by the overall banner theme of “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World”.
“Moreover, we have been promoting this view in other fora, including the recent APEC Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, wherein we called on the old view of how competition and economic growth always generates winners and losers should be discarded.”
ASEAN, which is perceived as the growing economic power, has a combined young population of 600 million people but half of that are considered living beyond subsistence level.
Under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), the Philippines focused on and pushed for initiatives that lead to the promotion of an inclusive and innovative region that ASEAN citizens can confidently and proudly call home.
To ensure that those bottoms of the pyramid can participate in trade, the Philippines chairmanship has championed the development of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
AEC’s priority for this year magnifies the imperative for the gains presented by the ongoing economic integration to be fully realized and shared by everyone towards region-wide prosperity. This acknowledges the socio-economic dimension of regional economic integration and its contribution to poverty alleviation through advances in trade facilitation, trade in services, connectivity, inclusive business, e-commerce, and innovation.
This also provides for the participation of the MSME and marginalized sectors (e.g., women, youth) in commercial activities. The MSME-oriented mandate that we carry this year aims to ensure that MSMEs take full advantage and maximize the benefits of the regional integration by putting in place the environment that could enable them to seize the opportunities from the AEC.
In a small group discussion with DTI reporters, Undersecretary and Philippine Lead Ceferino S. Rodolfo, explained that the ASEAN Leaders’ statement took off from President Duterte’s keynote speech at the recent APEC Summit in DaNang, Vietnam where the President admitted of a “pushback” from globalization from developed economies because many fallen on the way side.
Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat, mb.com