DTI chief makes final push for MSMEs initiatives

Chrisee Dela Paz

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DTI chief makes final push for MSMEs initiatives
Gregory Domingo also confirms he will stay as DTI chief at least until after the country's hosting of the APEC Leaders’ Summit in November

MANILA, Philippines  In his remaining months as secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Gregory Domingo said he will continue initiatives in providing broader opportunities for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to the international market.

Domingo, who is also the current Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) chairman, emphasized the need to place MSMEs at the front and center of regional trade agenda.

“It will take more time, but at least get them started to swing,” Domingo told reporters on the sidelines of P&G SME Leadership College on Thursday, September 17.

He said that among the key priorities is advancing specific and concrete interventions to promote the participation of MSMEs in regional and global markets, either through global value chains or as direct exporters of finished goods and services.

“We’re quite successful in doing so during the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade (MRT) meeting. Member economies agreed to bolster the ability of MSMEs to participate in cross-border business through the Boracay Action Agenda to globalize MSMEs,” he said.

The Philippines was appointed as a vice chair at 10th World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya from December 15 to December 18.

Domingo considers the vice-chairmanship as a prime position for the Philippines since “not all trade ministers are responsible for MSMEs.”

“I will go there to further push our initiatives in promoting MSMEs,” Domingo said.

In the Philippines, MSMEs account for about a third of the gross domestic product, represent 98% of all registered businesses, and employ more than 50% of the entire domestic workforce.

The DTI chief is forecasting the country’s economy to grow “a little over 6.5%” this year as foreign investments, consumer spending, and export activities will continue its rise in a decade’s time.

Domingo said stronger push in investment promotions and assistance to MSMEs will support economic growth. (READ: Is Nanay Tess’ bagoong ready for ASEAN integration?)

Dispelling rumors

Meanwhile, Domingo confirmed reports that he will stay as DTI chief at least until after the country’s hosting of the APEC Leaders’ Summit in November.

Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma on September 12 confirmed that Domingo submitted his resignation to President Benigno Aquino III.

“Secretary Gregory Domingo has submitted his resignation to President Aquino and this is under consideration. Secretary [Paquito] Ochoa is awaiting word from the President regarding this matter,” Coloma said in a statement. (READ: Aquino wants DTI’s Domingo to stay until APEC summit)

Speculations surrounding his sudden resignation from the Aquino Cabinet included being “burned out” because of APEC preparations, joining the Roxas campaign, as well as having policy differences with Finance Secretary Cesar V. Purisima.

“All these rumors are not true,” said Domingo, who served as DTI secretary since the President assumed office in 2010.

“How can I even be a campaign manager if I’ll be exiting in December? Elections will be next year. Time won’t be enough. Preparations are way in advance,” he added.

Asked about his plans, Domingo said in Filipino: “I don’t have plans yet. I’ll teach first during the one-year prohibition period. I’m still looking for a school. It could be overseas, so I can learn how to speak Russian.”

Domingo served as the executive director of SM Investments Corporation and the managing director of Chase Manhattan Bank in Manila, before he became the DTI chief. – Rappler.com

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