Philippine economy

What do businessmen expect from APEC 2015?

Chrisee Dela Paz
What do businessmen expect from APEC 2015?
Business leaders weigh in on what they expect from the APEC leaders' summit in Manila next week

MANILA, Philippines – Local and foreign business leaders listed down political and economic reforms they expect to be brought up during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Summit 2015 in Manila.

It will be the second time for the Philippines to host the APEC summit, after 1996, when the focus was on facilitating free trade in the region.

Now, leaders from the other 20 member economies will visit a fellow member economy that is about 3 times larger than it was in 1996. (READ: What will the Philippines gain from hosting APEC 2015?)

From strengthening micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), to preparing for disasters, some of the country’s business leaders voiced out issues and recommended policies they hope to be tackled by the APEC leaders.

John Forbes, senior adviser, American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines: “The Philippines made an excellent initiative for APEC to strengthen MSMEs and focus on inclusiveness. Both are needed substantially in the Philippines. I hope reforms that will make setting up businesses here easier, like making our tax code more inviting to investors.”

Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, chairman and CEO of Ayala Corporation: “I believe that widescale adaptation of inclusive models can only happen once industries are resolved to reinvent its business models. In light of this, more companies must champion inclusive business models and disrupt underserved sectors in the economy.

Further, it is imperative that key government agencies step in as well to implement policies that provide clear incentives supporting these business models that will help achieve critical mass in the private sector. In the Philippines, the Board of Investments is currently working to granting inclusive business accreditation to qualified enterprises, based on a clearly defined set of parameters.

This accreditation can then be leveraged to communicate businesses’ commitment to inclusive business as part of its identity, allowing it to build reputational capital and recognition among its customers and stakeholders.”

Tony Tan Caktiong, founder of Jollibee Foods Corporation: “We want to bring up topics like empowering mobility and making liveable cities. These topics are picked up by the ABAC (APEC Advisory Business Council) and leaders will hear recommendations on reforms and policies.”

Jose Ma. A. Concepcion III, president of RFM Corporation: “It all starts from getting commitments from large corporations. We should look at our value system, and find ways to link to them by buying products from them and training farmers to develop social enterprises.

“We’re all busy in large corporations, focused on expanding our businesses, but we should identify social entrepreneurs…and guide them and fit them into existing value chains.” 

This year’s APEC theme is Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World.

The APEC Economic Leaders’ Summit is on November 18 and 19.–

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