DTI chief stresses importance of all three pillars of the ASEAN Community

In the recently concluded OECD Forum and Ministerial Council Meeting (MCM) held at the OECD Headquarters in Paris, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Gregory L. Domingo, together with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría and other ASEAN ministers, launched the OECD Southeast Asia Regional Program (SEARP).


The OECD or the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is composed of 34 member countries and was established in 1961 when the OECD Convention entered into force. It is headquartered in Paris, France.


In his remarks, Secretary Domingo welcomed the theme of the 2014 MCM, consistent with the Aquino Administration’s aspiration.


“It is particularly relevant for the Philippines that the theme for the OECD Forum this year is “Resilient Economies for Inclusive Societies” because for the past three years our own government has pursued our growth and development targets in the context of bringing growth and development to those that need it most and those who get it least,” Secretary Domingo said.


“For the Philippines, we are heartened to know that the elements of economic development that we consider key to our achieving our goals for sustainable and inclusive growth are also consistent with the various issues that are considered relevant in the OECD Southeast Asia Regional Program’s regional priority networks (RPN). These areas include education and skills, connectivity, SMEs, investments, and regulatory and tax reform,” Domingo continued.


The SEARP aims to strengthen the OECD’s engagement with Southeast Asia with a view to supporting the regional integration process and the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015. The Program intends to achieve this through the exchange of good practices and mutual learning between policy makers in Southeast Asia and OECD countries in six priority areas: education and skills, connectivity, SMEs, investment, tax, and regulatory reform.


“Our (Philippines) human resources are at the heart of our competitive advantage, and developing their education and skills is a priority for us,” according to Domingo.


“We believe that the best way to achieve inclusive growth is by providing our people universal access to world-class skills training and education. Together with the rest of ASEAN, the Philippines will actively engage OECD and its members towards realizing our shared aspiration for economic development that is genuinely inclusive,” the Secretary added.


During the meeting, Domingo underscored the importance of economic integration in spurring growth in the region. He added that for growth to be sustainable and inclusive there is a need to ensure progress in the Political Security and Socio-Cultural pillars of the ASEAN Community. “Economics alone is not sufficient to attain sustainable and inclusive growth. That is why in ASEAN, we are moving in terms of the three (3) pillars—the Economic Community, the Political Security Community, and the Socio-Cultural Community,” Domingo emphasized.


Secretary Domingo ended his remarks by reaffirming the Philippines’ interest in learning from the OECD – from the collective history of its members and from OECD as an organization with over 50 years of rich experience in fostering adoption of best practice approaches to growth and development. He reiterated ASEAN’s commitment “to actively engage OECD and its members towards realizing a shared aspiration for economic development that is genuinely inclusive for all.”


The other ASEAN ministers present were Mr. Sun Chanthol, Cambodian Minister of Commerce; Dr. Muhamad Chatib Basri, Indonesian Minister of Finance; Dr. Thongloun Sisoulith, Lao Deputy Prime Minister; Dr. Kan Zaw, Myanmar Minister of National Planning and Economic Development; and Mr. Surapong Tovichakchaikul, Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. (END)