APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade Meeting
May 23, 2015, Boracay, Aklan, Philippines
APEC MRT Chair Gregory Domingo
Good morning, Colleagues. I thank all of you for coming here.
According to legend, the name “Boracay” comes from the local word “borac” meaning “cotton” and refers to the famous white, cottony color and texture of Boracay’s sandy beach.
We have scheduled the meetings so that there will be time to go to the beach early mornings and late afternoons. We’ll try to keep the meetings short so we are ahead of schedule. There is a famous saying in the Philippines that “What happens in Boracay, stays in Boracay”. But I think that saying refers to private things. In APEC’s case, we will not follow that rule because whatever we accomplish here, we want the world to know. I propose that we start work immediately so that we can all enjoy Boracay’s alluring beauty.
This year, we adopted the theme of “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World”. Inclusive growth has been on the APEC table from the beginning – since Bogor in 1994 when Leaders committed to reinforce economic cooperation “on the basis of equal partnership, shared responsibility, mutual respect, common interest and common benefit.”
Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) play a vital role in the realization of this vision and in the long-term growth of our respective economies and the entire APEC region as they comprise the great majority of businesses. Thus, I consider it very important that our approach includes the interest of SMEs, particularly micro and rural enterprises, as a priority. An important component of this effort is to bolster their ability of to take advantage of cross border business opportunities that will boost our economies in the process. Let us note that recognizing the diverse characters and different capacities of SMEs is an important parameter in pursuing interventions that are reflective of and responsive to their needs.
Colleagues, our promotion of trade and investment has provided a solid framework for growth and prosperity. Certainly, inequality and poverty are still present and remain the biggest challenges to our economies. But over the past 50 years, trade has proved to be a powerful engine of growth. Thus, we need to expand trade and investment and encourage economic dynamism to achieve strong, sustainable and inclusive growth. APEC has a particular responsibility in this regard being an important regional bloc and a major player in international trade. (End)