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Opening remarks of Undersecretary Manuel Gerochi at the Public-Private Partnership Dialogue on Environmental Goods and Services

APEC Public-Private Partnership Dialogue on Environmental Goods and Services (PPEGS)

12 May 2015, Boracay, Aklan

DENR Undersecretary Manuel D. Gerochi

Opening Remarks

Manuel D. Gerochi, Undersecretary for Policy and Planning & Foreign Assisted Programs of the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources (DENR), delivers his welcome remarks | Photo from Radio TV Malacanang

Good Morning friends, colleagues, and my fellow APEC delegates, let me be the first one to welcome you to the beautiful island of Boracay, one of the Philippines’ environmental gems. Boracay brings together the perfect setting of pristine waters, powder-like sand, sunshine, foliage, the Filipino people’s warm hospitality; the mix of a thriving tourism industry with a nation’s resolve to preserve the island for the future to enjoy. I hope you take the opportunity to explore the island amidst your busy schedule.

Against this beautiful setting, we host the Public-Private Dialogue on Environmental Goods and Services. It is a pleasure to give the opening remarks before you today, as we set to begin our discussion on measures that affect the trade and investment in EGS.

As those who had not been able to join us during the First Senior Officials Meeting (SOM I) in February in Clark, Pampanga, the Philippines under its APEC 2015 theme of “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World”, are four (4) priorities:

  • enhancing the regional economic integration agenda;
  • fostering SME participation in regional and global markets;
  • human capital development; and
  • building sustainable and resilient communities

As regional economic integration continues to take form and strengthen, APEC 2015 will orient policies and work programs through the prism of its inclusive growth strategy. Integration as such, will be defined and advanced not only for economic growth but also ensure the people that drive economic growth are also considered.

For this year our pursuit of trade and investment liberalization. For 2015, our work towards trade and investment liberalization, business facilitation, and economic and technical cooperation will be guided by the goal  of inclusivity-empowering individuals, businesses and communities to take advantage of the opportunities of regional economic integration, cope and address economic challenges such as rising income gaps and economic inequity, susceptibility to shocks, natural disasters, and food security.

The discussion here in PPEGS is very relevant. It intersects between two of APEC 2015’s priorities: (1) enhancing the regional economic agenda; and (2) building sustainable and resilient communities.

Following APEC’s work towards the Bogor Goals of free and open trade by 2020, and realization of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific (FTAAP), APEC 2015 expands the regional economic integration agenda to include building blocks such as the pursuing a study on the FTAAP, the full implementation of the APEC EG List by the end of 2015 as committed by our Leaders, and forward-looking plans based on the review of APEC’s  Growth Strategy, among other relevant work.

As having to endure the world’s strongest storm, the Philippines puts value in ensuring that our economy is transformed into a green and resilient one–ensuring that APEC’s green growth object is seen through. Especially relevant this year is the tariff reduction of APEC’s 54 environmental goods to 5% or lower. This regional commitment has made the availability of goods that encourage sustainability, more competitive. Your work here today looks at the different issues our Economies’ face to ensure that green products and services are delivered.

Through the discussion in PPEGS, I am optimistic that APEC is all the more closer to achieving its objective of green growth. May the discussions be useful to you in your economies, in threshing out issues that effect environmental goods and services.

I wish you a productive and successful meeting.

Thank you very much.

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