APEC initiatives to kick in by 2016 – ABAC
MANILA, Philippines – Starting 2016, inclusive growth initiatives made by the 21 member-economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) 2015 will come into play.
"This is not just a big hosting then after wala na (it’s done). For the next 10 months, we hope to really put into play all the recommendations we've made," Doris Magsaysay-Ho, chairman of APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) 2015 and CEO of Magsaysay Group of Companies, said on the sidelines of its ABAC meeting in Makati on Saturday, November 14.
The APEC 2015 business leaders gathered on Saturday to collate recommendations that will address private sector concerns, mainly on putting the services sector at the forefront of international trade. (READ: What will Philippines gain from hosting APEC 2015?)
"This morning, we opened our APEC business advisory meeting first plenary. During this meeting, we reviewed the progress we've had so far on the recommendations and policies that we hope to present to leaders on Wednesday, November 18," Magsaysay-Ho said.
Services sector agenda
She said the bulk of the initiatives presented are focused on pushing the services sector as the region's main source of economic growth, competitiveness, and employment.
"The public and private sectors are working together to participate in international trade through e-commerce and opportunities being offered by the digital age," Magsaysay-Ho said.
"Today is basically the kick off of the business sector's plenaries. Yesterday, there was a senior officials ministers' meeting. Starting tomorrow, you'll see the ministers of trade and foreign affairs meet and then the leaders will have their retreat. In the middle of that, ABAC has organized the CEO summit where the leaders will speak," she added.
The ABAC 2015 chairman said her team launched the world's biggest coalition of organizations by far aimed at advancing the services sector's trade and investment across economies.
"[T]he beauy of APEC is it offers all industries opportunity to enter international markets. But in the Philippines, we feel that one area that has a great opportunity is in the services sector, because we have such amazing talent as we see in the BPO (business process outsourcing) sector, and in all the works that have been done by Filipinos abroad," Magsaysay-Ho said.
According to Magsaysay-Ho, business organizations from Australia, Brunei, Canada, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Lima, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and the United States signed up to form the regional coalition.
This is particularly helpful for the Philippines, Magsaysay-Ho said.
"We feel that what Filipinos learned abroad can be brought up here to be used as global services. Imagine those working in a cruise ship can now have a restaurant or a bed and breakfast here. We want to make our workers abroad to want to return home and think of ways to offer services both domestically and abroad," the ABAC 2015 chairman said.
She added that the ABAC 2015 is working with maritime, healthcare, BPO, and construction sectors to come up with a roadmap for the region.
"For us in the Philippines, the work begins after we close next week. We hope we can really make our initiatives happen in our own country," Magsaysay-Ho said.
APEC 2016 theme
As the 21 APEC member-economies work together to act on their inclusive growth initiatives next year, they will simultaneously discuss initiatives on human development.
During the meeting, ABAC 2016 Chairman Juan Raffo introduced next year's theme Quality Growth and Human Development, as Peru hosts the APEC Summit 2016.
Asked how this will be linked with this year's inclusive growth initiatives, Asian Institute of Management (AIM) professor Federico Macaranas said on the sidelines: "Quality growth includes 5 characteristics: balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative, and secured. So inclusive growth initiatives made here will take care of Peru's one concern."
Macaranas, who is also a delegate of the APEC 2015, said that although Peru will have a new APEC theme by next year, he is confident that the initiatives on inclusive growth will be sustained in the coming years.
"This will resonate well because we are just riding the wave of concerns in the world of business. You cannot leave some of the suppliers behind. You must elevate their appreciation for innovation, greater productivity, and lowering costs, so that they can be more competitive continuously," Macaranas told Rappler.
The Philippines, for the second time, is hosting APEC, under the theme, Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World. The first time the Philippines hosted the APEC leaders' summit was in 1996, initiating an action plan on facilitating free trade in the region.
The APEC Leaders' Summit here in Manila is on November 18 and 19. — Rappler.com