Aquino bats for the realization of the ASEAN Strategic Action Plan for SME Development for 2010-2015

BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Brunei Darussalam, (PNA) — In line with its agenda to enhance the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the country, President Benigno S. Aquino III announced the Philippines’ support for the realization of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Strategic Action Plan for SME (small and medium enterprises) Development for 2010-2015.

“The Philippines will continue to support the ASEAN-wide Self-Certification Scheme, which will help facilitate the participation of MSMEs in regional trade,” the President said in his statement at the 23rd ASEAN Summit here.

President Aquino also mentioned the development of the Philippine Tariff Finder, the first of its kind in ASEAN, to facilitate the free flow of goods in the region in support of last year’s Phnom Penh Agenda for ASEAN Community Building.

The Philippine Tariff Finder is a free online facility that allows users to do a quick search of Philippine tariff rates on specific products and also enables them to access the eight existing Philippine tariff schedules.

“We are glad that our advocacy for social protection will be realized at this Summit through the adoption of an ASEAN Declaration on Strengthening Social Protection. My administration believes that a strong economy is founded on an empowered citizenry. This is why since taking office, we have focused on improving education, healthcare, and social welfare programs in our country,” the President said.

“I believe that the potential for development of our nation rests in the capacity of our people to contribute in building a resilient economy and a society that values fairness and equality. This belief continues to define our policies and serves as the foundation of our position for promoting social protection initiatives in ASEAN,” he added.

The President stressed that the Philippines will continue to deepen its engagements with its external partners, urging other ASEAN members to do the same, to enhance cooperation in trade, human rights protection, maritime security, and people-to-people connectivity, among many others.

“This can be done through meaningful avenues of the ASEAN Plus Process, ASEAN-led mechanisms such as the ASEAN Regional Forum, the ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting Plus, and the East Asia Summit; and by working to enhance mutual cooperation through the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership,” he said.