Marcos: Countries should ‘lift trade restrictions’

Davos, Switzerland: President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos on Tuesday warned against protectionism, urging governments to “untie any trade restrictions” as the world continues to grapple with soaring inflation.

Marcus made the call while presenting the state of the Philippine economy and the opportunities awaiting investors at the ongoing annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

In his remarks during the Country Strategy Dialogue, the President referred to the initiatives that are being taken to ensure the country’s continued recovery and make it more business-friendly.

He noted that while the International Monetary Fund expects global growth to slow to 2.7 percent this year from 3.2 percent last year, “as for the Philippines, we expect our economy to grow by about 7.0 percent in 2023.”

He added, “The strong macroeconomic fundamentals, fiscal discipline, structural reforms, and key sector liberalization that have been put in place over the years have enabled us to weather negative shocks from the pandemic and successful economic recession and chart a path towards a strong recovery.”

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With inflation continuing to weigh on global growth, “we realize that while protectionist policies may be attractive and even necessary in the short term, there will ultimately be no long-term winners,” Marcus continued.

“We join the call for all governments to remove any trade restrictions and strengthen our commitment to reforms of the World Trade Organization.”

The president said countries also need to ensure that adequate welfare measures are in place to mitigate the impact of high inflation.

Marcos added that the Philippines continues to focus on maintaining its viability and fostering a homegrown environment that will nurture businesses by helping them increase their competitiveness and facilitate their entry into the global market.

He stressed the importance of economic and technical cooperation to help develop smaller economies.

“The government also recognizes the importance of digitization as a key driver of long-term economic growth and as a tool for economic transformation,” said Marcus, pledging to empower and enable micro, small and medium enterprises to participate in the digital economy.

He added, “We have initiated a large-scale roll-out of digital connectivity across the Philippines to ensure global connectivity, especially in geographically isolated and disadvantaged areas.”

Emphasizing the need to address current social weaknesses, Marcus stressed the importance of education, skills development and lifelong learning to enhance employability.

He added that government interventions and public-private partnerships should be strengthened to improve access to job opportunities. Health systems and social protection must also be strengthened to mitigate and mitigate risks.

Regarding the current geopolitical risks, he reiterated the Philippines’ support to achieve practical and workable results in a timely and effective manner.

Also present during the country dialogue were Parliament Speaker Martin Romualdez, Finance Minister Benjamin Diokno, Trade Minister Alfredo Pascual, and Social and Economic Planning Minister Arsenio Balizcan.

Joo-ok Lee, a member of the Executive Committee of the World Economic Forum, acted as moderator.

Marcus is currently in Switzerland to join world leaders and business leaders at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. This year’s meeting, themed Collaboration in a Fragmented World, is the World Economic Forum’s first in-person gathering since 2020.

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