Duterte backs micro firms, regional trade

President Rodrigo Duterte said the Philippines’ inclusive growth strategy will focus on innovating micro, small and medium enterprises development, e-commerce, youth and women entrepreneurship.

Duterte bared the plan during the 13th Asean Business and Investment Summit  recently held in Vientiane, Vietnam.

He said Asean in order to be a global player must ensure the effective implementation of key economic agreements and the integration of existing sub-regional cooperation frameworks such as the Greater Mekong Subregion , the Indonesia-Malaysia-Thailand Growth Triangle and the Brunei-Indonesia-Malaysia-Philippines East Asean Growth Area.

“Hailing from Mindanao, I commit to promote BIMP-EAGA. We intend to open up our other major islands like Mindanao and the Visayas with high quality backbone infrastructure,” he said, adding the Philippines would accelerate infrastructure spending by improving national roads and bridges,” he said.

Duterte, joined by key economic managers Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, called on Asean to support MSME development and further expand the roll-on roll-off (RO-RO) facility to Davao-General Santos and Bitung in Indonesia.

“We will work and collaborate with Asean in helping the MSMEs look for all ways to connect them in the countries of Asean and the world. We will work in advancing our policy and regulatory environment providing an affordable and innovative digital platforms, and accessing best practices and financial resources,” he said.

Asean must engage the world in a “robust way” by maximizing free trade areas with Australia and New Zealand, China, India, Japan, and Korea, he said.

Duterte said Asean needed “stronger resolve and action to combat transnational crime” and noted that illicit and illegal drug trade undermined “social cohesion, the rule of law and the socio-economic programs of a country.”

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