MANILA, March 22 (PNA) – The Philippines has asked Myanmar to support its agenda for ASEAN, as the country chairs the summit this year,Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez told reporters Wednesday.
Lopez has joined President Rodrigo Duterte in his visit to Myanmar early this week.
“Of course, as chair of ASEAN, the Philippines consistently sought Myanmar’s support for the region’s deliverables this year, touching on increasing trade and investment, integrating MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises) into the global value chain, and promoting an innovation-driven economy,” he said.
During the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM) Retreat and Related Meetings held in Manila, the Philippines has pushed for initiatives such as self-certification scheme for MSMEs; action agenda on investment, inclusive business, and women and youth entrepreneurship; endorsement of ASEAN Declaration on Innovation; ASEAN Roll-on Roll-off Network; endorsement of the ASEAN Trade in Services Agreement; and conclusion of the text of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
Myanmar’s Planning and Finance Deputy Minister Maung Maung Win attended the AEM meeting early this month.
In a bilateral level, the two ASEAN member states have agreed to strengthen ties in agriculture sector, Lopez said.
Governments of the Philippines and Myanmar are eyeing to boost cooperation in agricultural technology including capacity building measures, education cooperation and exchange of best practices through agricultural specialists and experts.
The two countries are also interested to jointly explore measures to advance efficient production of hybrid rice as well as pineapple fiber clothing.
Data from the ASEANstats showed that Philippine exports to Myanmar between 2014 and 2015 rose 66 percent from USD20.5 million to USD34.1 million.
Myanmar’s exports to the Philippines in the same period increased by 33 percent from USD9.0 million to USD12 million.
As member states of ASEAN, the Philippines and Myanmar benefit from the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (ATIGA), which aims for free flow of goods in the region by reducing tariff and non-tariff barriers.
Meanwhile, President Rodrigo Duterte’s official trip to Myanmar and Thailand this week completed his visit to all ASEAN member states.
President Duterte went to Laos in September 2016 to accept the ASEAN chairmanship.
In the same month, the Chief Executive visited Vietnam.
These trips were followed by visits to Brunei Darussalam and Indonesia in October last year, Malaysia in November, and Singapore and Cambodia in December.