PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte called for an improved economic integration between members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to counter protectionism and trade-related tensions.
Duterte, during the plenary session of the 35th ASEAN Summit in Thailand on Saturday, said protectionism and trade war between major economic powers compromise the progress of ASEAN economies that may affect the food security in the developing world.
“We need an open and rules-based trading system to sustain growth. Thus, we should ensure the continued relevance and effectiveness of the World Trade Organization,” he said.
“And, ASEAN must accelerate deeper economic integration through concrete programs and projects, such as RCEP [Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership],” added.
Protectionism is the practice of protecting domestic industries against foreign competition by using regulations such as tariffs, subsidies, import quotas, or other restrictions on the imports of foreign competitors.
Duterte, meanwhile, said the Philippines welcomes the declarations and joint statements that aim to protect the most vulnerable ASEAN population, citing social stability and cohesion as preconditions for sustainable and inclusive development.
He also called for more measures with greater direct benefit to certain sectors including the expansion of Mutual Recognition Agreements and the empowerment of women, migrant workers, and persons with disabilities.
A coordinated standards on nurses and other healthcare professionals is also marked by Duterte as an important measure to pursue in the region.
Aside from these, he also called on ASEAN to ensure environmental sustainability and protect biodiversity while they push for development.
ASEAN should not sacrifice the environment and its rich biodiversity, particularly in the maritime domain, in exchange for progress, he added.
According to Duterte, ASEAN members should support economic sectors of high productivity and follow sustainable business practices.
“We must work together to address the problem of marine debris. And we must build resilient and stronger communities to adapt to the effects of climate change,” he said. (GMA News)