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Trade Chief expressed support toward climate mitigation and adaptation at WTO Davos

SWITZERLAND – Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Fred Pascual joined several ministerial-level meetings on World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiation issues during his participation at the 2023 World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting. The WTO, with its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, organized meetings on the sidelines of the WEF while several Trade Ministers were in Davos. 

The Philippines, along with 27 other countries joined the first meeting of the Coalition of Trade Ministers on Climate, which is a global forum dedicated to trade, climate, and sustainable development issues that was launched on 19 January 2023. The Coalition aims to foster global action to promote trade policies that will help address climate change through local and global initiatives. 

At the forum, Secretary Pascual supported calls for an immediate, conscious effort and innovative approaches to facilitate trade in a sustainable manner, including by creating markets for goods and services that will help preserve and restore natural resources. 

He mentioned that, “many developing and least developed countries, including the Philippines, are considered most vulnerable to the effects of climate change. Our country sees merit in promoting trade and investment that fosters the diffusion and accessibility of goods, services, and technologies that support climate mitigation and adaptation.” Further, he expressed the Philippines’ support for discussions on voluntary liberalization efforts on environmental goods and services. 

On the same day, Secretary Pascual represented the Philippines in an informal ministerial meeting to examine the progress made and discuss next steps on the Joint Statement Initiative on Investment Facilitation for Development (JSI-IFD). The joint initiative, steered by over 110 World Trade Organization (WTO) Members, aims to develop a multilateral agreement that will facilitate foreign direct investments (FDI) by increasing transparency and easing investment administrative measures. New rules will improve the investment and business climate, making it easier for investors in all sectors of the economy to invest, conduct their day-to-day business, and expand their operations. Similarly, these are expected to complement existing WTO disciplines on goods and services trade. Twenty-six high-level representatives participated in the discussions in Davos. 

Secretary Pascual also highlighted the significant step taken by the Philippines to achieve sustainable recovery and revitalize growth. “Recently, we have implemented four landmark legislations that facilitate sustainable development and economic growth: the Amendments to the Public Service Act, Foreign Investments Act, Retail Trade Liberalization Act, and the CREATE Law. These promote streamlined investment procedures and predictability of investment measures, all geared towards attracting foreign investments in the country.” 

Further, Secretary Pascual joined the Ministerial-level meeting with the WTO Director General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala. The informal conversation discussed issues after the breakthrough results of the 12th Ministerial Conference (MC12) held in Geneva last June and priority areas for MC13 taking place in February 2024.