Politics

Marcos to attend APEC leaders’ summit in Thailand

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OFFICE OF THE PRESS SECRETARY

PHILIPPINE President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. is set to leave for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Thailand on Wednesday, according to the palace.

This will be his first attendance in the leaders’ meeting — to be held on Nov. 16 to 19 — since he became president in July.

“In the summit, the president will join world leaders in various dialogues and will hold bilateral talks with other heads of state on the sidelines of the [leaders’ meeting],” it said in a statement.

Mr. Marcos, who attended the 40th and 41st Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summits last week, “considers both ASEAN and APEC as vital platforms in advancing the country’s interests and positions before world leaders,” it said.

Members of APEC, which was established in 1989, make up more than 60% of global economic output.

Majority of the country’s external trade for 2016 was with APEC member countries, according to the Trade department. Japan, the United States, China, Hong Kong, Singapore and South Korea were its top trading partners within the regional group.

APEC members also includes Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Russia and Chinese-Taipei.

All 21 APEC member countries will attend this month’s summit, Thai Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai said on Nov. 4, based on a report by The Bangkok Post.

US President Joseph R. Biden, whose country accounts for a quarter of global economic output, would skip the APEC summit and will be represented by US Vice President Kamala Harris, the Post said in a separate report.

APEC has been promoting trade and investment liberalization. Mr. Marcos, who initially promised to protect Philippine industries amid concerns over local firms’ competitiveness in the global market, has vowed to make the Philippines an “investment destination.”

Analysts noted that despite his protectionist remarks, Mr. Marcos would probably continue to pursue economic liberalization.

The push to liberalize the economy would continue, Joseph F. Purugganan, program coordinator at think tank Focus on the Global South, said in August. His protectionist remarks are mere populist rhetoric meant to retain public support, he said.

In July, Mr. Marcos vowed to boost local food production and limit imports “as much as possible.” — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza