Wednesday, October 31, 2018

PH joins World Investment Forum 2018, Calls for Improved Focus on Sustainable Development


THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through Undersecretary for Trade and Investments Promotion Group (TIPG) Nora Kakilala Terrado, participated in the World Investment Forum (WIF) 2018 and joined the universal call to address global investment-related issues and advance sustainable development for all.

Anchored on the theme: “Investing in Sustainable Development,” the WIF 2018 was held from October 22-26 and served as an avenue for world leaders to unite and devise policies, strategies, and solutions that can solve challenges in attaining the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs.

Organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the forum was opened by Swiss President Alain Berset at the United Nations’ European hub Palais de Nations. The biennial forum gathered 6,000 participants from 160 countries composed of heads of states, high-level government executives, UN officials, and investment stakeholders in the private sector.

Joining the Philippine delegation to the WIF 2018, Undersecretary Terrado represented the country in various discussions and shared with other delegates the initiatives and plans of the Philippines for its digital economy transition as well as the continuous developments of its special economic zones (SEZs). On behalf of the Philippine government, Terrado discussed the importance of improved policies and reforms in areas of trade and investments.

The delegation was composed of Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Commission on Audit Director Luzvi Chatto and Assistant Commissioner Lourdes Castillo, Helen Alcantara of the Department of Finance, and Leonard Flores and Roya Malaluan of the City Government of General Santos.

As part of her engagements in the week-long forum, Terrado on October 23 joined the session on “Investment and the Digital Economy,” where leading investors ranging from infrastructure providers, financial backers and digital firms such as Alibaba, Huawei, Vertex, Intel, and Groupe Speciale Mobile Association (GSMA) participated.

During the session, Terrado discussed investments in the digital economy, along with innovative practices and policies that have facilitated investors in channelling contributions that help close the digital divide. Her special remarks also highlighted the Philippines’ Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy or i3s.

The i3s, according to Terrado, complements the government’s thrust to promote an innovation ecosystem in the country—with different sectors partnering to generate more jobs and improved business opportunities.

“The I3S is aimed at growing innovative and globally competitive manufacturing, agriculture, and services, while strengthening their linkages into domestic and global value chains,” Terrado said.

Meanwhile, at the “Ministerial Roundtable on 21st Century Global Investment Policymaking,” which was conducted on October 25 with 15 ministers and other high-level capital officials, the undersecretary shared the Philippines’ experiences in coming up with modern and sustainable development-oriented investment policies.  

Terrado stated that while there is a need for collective action to achieve the SDGs, “policymaking is much slower than the pace of technology.”

“These challenges require more operative engagements with different local institutions involved in the SDG, not only in the government but also in the business sector, civil society groups, the academe, and even in the media,” she said. 

Also, the undersecretary served as a panellist at the session on “Challenges and Opportunities in Special Economic Zones” held on October 26, which highlighted the important role of SEZs as incubators to support SDG initiatives.

At the caucus, she joined Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) officials from China, India, UAE, Brazil, Nigeria, and India, who shared lessons in designing the right infrastructure, facilitation services, and incentives—creating economies of scale and promoting transfer of technology in the zones—to develop zone models that can solve each country’s needs.

Terrado also took the opportunity to cite the high-quality service of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) by operating “non-stop” shops all over the country, enabling the agency to offer red-carpet treatments to investors.

The WIF 2018 consisted of more than 50 parallel events including the Global Leaders Investment Summit, Global Investment Game Changers Summit, private sector-led sessions, “TED-style” presentations, high-profile stakeholder roundtables, networking events, and awarding ceremonies, among others. UNCTAD also organised an “Investment Village,” which featured more than 50 investment promotion agencies around the world including the Philippines.

On the sidelines of the WIF 2018, Terrado also met with UNCTAD officials and discussed technical assistance and capacity building projects for the Philippines in areas of e-commerce and trade facilitation.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the forum whose previous editions took place in Accra in 2008; Xiamen, 2010; Doha, 2012; and Nairobi in 2016.

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