Feature: PGMA reiterates RP's commitment in multilateral trading system
Cebu, Philippines (30 September) -- President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, in her speech at the UN General Assembly in New York recently reiterates her government's commitment to the multilateral trading system agreements between and among countries to maximize flexibilities in exchange for greater market access.
The President hopes though that the contending countries will continue to consult with each other to find the right formula of subsidy cuts and market access that seem to be the impasse at the Doha talks.
She informed the assembly that the Philippines has tirelessly works to move the Doha talks forward but if it fails, her government will not just fold her hands and wait, "for us, it is full speed ahead, preferably with Doha, but full speed nevertheless!"
The President lamented though that developed nations were the prime movers behind global trade when it suited them; now some countries are slowing things down. "That is not right nor good for our respective economies," President Arroyo declared.
She said that if the multilateral trading system is fragmented into trading blocs, it will result in a more complex set of trade rules. That could be incompatible and detrimental to the interests of developing countries.
In the meantime, Arroyo stressed that while countries are hoping for a successful conclusion to the Doha Round, "we have to maximize the economic opportunities provided under bilateral and regional free trade agreements" that will complement efforts under the multilateral trading system.
In the same forum, the President told the UN General Assembly that at a time of uncertainty when the Doha Round is faltering, ASEAN took a bold step forward by drafting its Charter-a bold step in creating a permanent sense of security within the ASEAN region towards a single market with free movement of goods, ideas and skilled talent.
According to Arroyo, for the Philippines to be economically competitive with the rest of the world, it needs to keep its alliances with the world's largest and fasting growing economies such as the United States and China.
She boasts with its strong alliance with the US that remains the Philippines' largest trading partner as well as the strongest strategic ally. She also said that China's rise is a significant opportunity for the Philippines.
With the United States, "We have stood shoulder to shoulder for many generations and we expect to continue building on our mature relationship while with China, our overall relations are now more confident and comprehensive," the President added.
Lastly, the President thanked the Secretary General for supporting the Philippines' hosting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development next year, to which she invited all Member States to participate in the forum.
According to the President, the Philippine government and its people honor the overseas Filipino Workers for their sacrifice and dedication to their work, their family and their nation.
Although "We welcome their contribution," she added that the government is working towards the day when Filipinos no longer need to go abroad for a job, the day that overseas work is just another career option.
She concluded by saying that the country's ambitious economic reforms will keep our best and brightest right in the Philippines, closer to friends and families, helping to build our communities and provide the next generation of leadership. (PIA-Cebu/MBCN) [top]