Legarda expresses support for PH Export Development Plan, recognizes RCEP to be vehicle for its success

June 15, 2023

Speaking at the Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) International Trade Forum (ITF) held at Shangri-La The Fort, BGC, Taguig City, Senate President Pro Tempore Loren Legarda recognized the immense potential of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) as the vehicle for the success of the Philippine Export Development Plan.

“I have always had faith in the skills, creativity, and innovativeness of the Filipino. That has never been the issue plaguing our country and our reduced capacity to compete. Both the ratification conditions and the way forward now require much more than lip service. It is imperative that we can prove that these benefits touted by the largest economic agreement in recent history can be delivered across a broad range of sectors,” she stated.

“I therefore give my support to the Philippine Export Development Plan in its comprehensiveness and inclusivity as well as its sharp focus on areas that make us competitive,” Legarda affirmed.

The four-term senator emphasized the unique mention of the Convention on Biological Diversity within the agreement and highlighted the Kunming Montreal Biodiversity Framework, which sets targets for ecosystem restoration and sustainable production practices by 2030.

Drawing attention to the environmental implications of economic growth, she urged the export sector and industries to embrace restoration efforts to improve ecosystems’ capacity to deliver high-value, nutritious, and sustainable products.

She stressed the importance of efficient nutrient cycling, reduced pesticide use, and integrated pest management based on science, which enhances product quality and contributes to ecological integrity and connectivity.

Legarda also underscored the rising global demand for sustainable goods, encouraging Philippine industries to view this as an opportunity for innovation and leapfrogging toward environmentally friendly production mechanisms.

She expressed confidence that adopting such practices would yield long-term economic benefits while ensuring a clean and sustainable future.

“These tenets should make our offerings to the global market more valued. More and more, consumers are gaining an increased awareness and appreciation of sustainably produced products. Instead of treating this as an insurmountable obstacle, we can leapfrog toward new production mechanisms that avoid waste and ensure ecological security. This will deliver much more economic benefits in the long term,” she explained.

Legarda also addressed the impending provisions of the Philippine Environmental and Natural Capital Accounting System (PENCAS) Bill. This legislation aims to facilitate decision-making by identifying products that provide a competitive advantage while promoting clean and sustainable production.

She emphasized the need to prioritize value addition through ingenuity, quality craftsmanship, fair working conditions, and pricing that accounts for externalities.

“It is an exciting yet challenging time to be entering this arena. We have to show the world who we are by integrating all these challenges in our engagement with the global economy. And I believe in our people and the capacity of our government to deliver,” Legarda concluded.

The event, themed “Empowering Philippine Industries,” aimed to maximize the benefits of the RCEP and other Preferential Trade Arrangements (PTA) while unveiling the Philippine Export Development Plan 2023-2028.

The International Trade Forum brought together key stakeholders from the business sector, including micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), exporters, foreign chambers, and investors.

As the Philippines celebrates its participation in RCEP, the world’s largest free trade agreement, the event served as a platform for knowledge sharing and collaboration, setting the stage for the country’s transformation into an agile export powerhouse in key industries.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. opened the event with a keynote message, with DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) Secretary Bienvenido Laguesma, DTI Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo, and DTI Assistant Secretary Allan Gepty in attendance.

Sergio Ortiz-Luiz, Jr., PHILEXPORT President, and Export Development Council Vice Chair, also delivered his message of support. (end)