President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Wednesday expressed confidence that his participation in the 29th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders Meeting in Thailand will bring “good progress” to the Philippines.
Mr. Marcos, who arrived in Bangkok late afternoon yesterday, acknowledged that APEC member economies account for 38 percent of the global population, 48 percent of world trade, and 62 percent of world gross domestic product (GDP).
“It will be an honor for me to represent the Philippines at the APEC. APEC remains to be one of the prime platforms to engage the economies of the Asia-Pacific region. The importance of this region to us and to the rest of the world cannot be overstated,” the President said in a pre-departure speech delivered at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City.
This is the first time Mr. Marcos will attend the APEC meeting as the country’s chief executive.
Mr. Marcos said he would present the Philippines’ economic agenda, including the plans for digital transformation and attainment of sustainable development goals.
He said he would also push for the Philippines’ participation in the digital economy; the economic inclusion of the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs); and the “safe and seamless” passage of Filipino maritime crews and seafarers.
He added that he would urge his fellow APEC leaders to address climate change and ensure food and energy security in the region.
The Asia-Pacific region also hosts the largest segments of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs), with the Philippine regional trade accounting for 85 percent, providing Filipino consumers access to goods and services from the region.
The region also gives Filipino farmers, laborers, businessmen and MSMEs an export market for their goods and services in the region.
Established in 1989, APEC serves as the premier Asia-Pacific economic forum, with the primary goal of supporting sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the region.
The APEC’s 21 member economies include the Philippines, Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Russia, Singapore, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam.
During his stay in Thailand, Mr. Marcos said he, along with First Lady Louise Araneta-Marcos, would also meet with Thai King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua and Queen Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshana who granted a royal audience for APEC leaders and their spouses.
Mr. Marcos is also expected to meet with Thai business leaders on the APEC sidelines to invite more investments.
He will be joining a panel discussion on “The Global Economy and the Future of APEC” with select APEC Leaders invited to speak at the annual gathering of top chief executive officers from the region.
Mr. Marcos will also hold bilateral meetings with some economic leaders and heads of state to discuss the strengthening of diplomatic relations.
He is also set to meet with the Filipino community in Thailand.
“It is very clear that there are many areas of consensus between our countries in the Asia Pacific, Indo-Pacific region.
And that is what I hope to build on. We have established that those are the concerns, the common concerns of all the leaders, of all the countries around the region,” Mr. Marcos said.
“That is also what the other leaders are intending to do and I hope to report good progress when I come back from Bangkok,” he added.