DTI chief Lopez: Trump's reforms align with Duterte's
MANILA, Philippines – The country’s trade chief shared what he learned from an informal gathering of world economic leaders at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Wednesday, January 18: the economic priorities of US President-elect Donald Trump resonate with those of President Rodrigo Duterte.
"Trump, viewed by many as someone who talks straight and authentic, gets things done and does what’s good for his countrymen, were attributes mentioned of US President-elect Trump and these sound familiar," said Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez, who is in Davos, Switzerland for this year's WEF.
In an early session that discussed the outlook of the incoming Trump administration, Lopez said he has observed that the US' new economic priorities are aligned with Duterte's thrust to spur economic growth.
The DTI chief said Trump's promised reforms are similar to Duterte's plans to boost the country's economy, “resulting from domestic stimulus due to planned cuts in corporate and personal income tax, to encourage reinvestments in research and development (R&D) and innovations, other tax reform measures, public and private investment in infrastructure, as well as increased participation of small and medium enterprises (SMEs)."
Level the playing field
Lopez said main concerns raised are on perceptions that Trump would go back to his trade protectionist stance.
“US leaders believe it is not protectionism per se but levelling the playing field and adopting fair and market-based trade," Lopez added.
The DTI chief said WEF participants who know Trump believe that the US will not go to the path of anti-globalization, but will aim to level the playing field, including countering undue trade practices.
According to him, the US' new administration will place emphasis on trade enforcement as opposed to negotiating new trade agreements.
The US withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and would like to review progress and effectiveness of the North American Free Trade Agreement (Nafta).
"The US cannot simply cut itself off from the rest of the world as this will hurt not only its trading partners around the world, but also the US itself, since world economies are so integrated," Lopez said.
The trade secretary added that participants believed it is "not a zero-sum game" and that US policies cannot be one-sided only because they impact the whole world.
On Tuesday, January 17, China's President Xi Jinping warned against making globalization a scapegoat for the world's ills or retreating behind protectionist walls, days before Trump takes office.
Xi insisted that globalization was irreversible despite a populist backlash in the West. – Rappler.com