PHL meets 104 of 110 measures for first phase of Asean economic community

November 25, 2012 5:16 am 

CEBU CITY, Nov. 24 — The Philippines has implemented 104 out of the 110 measures needed for the first phase of the Asean Economic Community (AEC), a senior trade official said.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary for industry and trade policy Adrian Cristobal Jr. said the remaining six measures to be implemented were in the areas of services and infrastructure development or transport.

Cristobal earlier told business leaders in Cebu that the constraints to implementing these were legislative and constitutional restrictions and infrastructure limitations.

These include problems in allowing a more liberalized foreign ownership in domestic companies and sectors and allowing unlimited fifth freedom traffic rights between Asean capital.

However, Cristobal said it was the first phase that was the easy part.

”For Phase 2, the Philippines shows a lower rate of implementation, achieving 103 out of 134 measures targeted for implementation for 2010 to 2011. Not surprisingly, most Asean-member states are having some difficulty in the remaining areas of reform,” Cristobal said.

He said the country would have to face many challenges and make hard decisions if it wanted to meet the targets set for AEC 2015, saying it required structural reforms that require legislation and constitutional change.

Cristobal said that to address these issues, the country needs a strategy that aligns what industries need to compete with the country’s international trade strategy to come up with coherent and effective policies.

He assured that they have adjusted the investment and trade promotion strategies.

He said that in promoting trade and investments, they had picked countries in East Asia as the top priority and were focused on capturing the migration of multi-national manufacturing companies into the Philippines.

”Targeting is at the firm level, such as the successful outcome of Canon and Brother. The targets now are the suppliers of these countries, in China and Japan, so we can cluster them here,” he said.

However, he said that traditional markets would not be abandoned and continued to be important but that new approaches were necessary.

The government, he said, was hard at work at improving the business environment and increasing the country’s rankings based on competitiveness indicators such as the World Economic Forum’s global Competitiveness Report.

“Reducing the cost of doing business shall also be a priority of government agencies, local to national,” he said.

While the country’s glowing economic prospects has gotten the attention of international investors, Cristobal said promotion activities alone would not sustain it.

He said long-term outlooks and plans were needed and that the country should continue bridging supply chain gaps, increase productivity and competitiveness and seek new markets. (PNA)



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