THE 31st meeting of the High-Level Task Force on Asean Economic Integration (HLTF-EI) convened on February 16 to discuss and recommend mechanisms that will support and strengthen the implementation of the AEC Blueprint 2025 toward greater regional cohesion and integration.
The 31st HLTF-EI meeting gathers Asean high-ranking trade officials in consultations on how the region can effectively address emerging challenges in a dynamic global environment. The Philippines will be represented by Dr. Ceferino S. Rodolfo, undersecretary for Industry Development of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and managing head of the Board of Investments.
“The Asean High-Level Task Force is considered a visionary group that assesses the progress of the region’s economic integration and proposes measures that will be submitted to the ministers who, in turn, will discuss these at the Asean Economic Ministers’ Retreat in March 2017. The meeting gives us the opportunity to consult each other on several matters to ensure that the benefits of integration are fully realized and shared by everyone in Asean. Strengthening compliance and monitoring our AEC commitments, and finding ways to deepen engagement with our stakeholders in designing and implementing regional strategies and initiatives are some of the topics we will focus on during the meeting,” Rodolfo said.
In light of the substantial progress of Asean’s economic integration, the AEC Blueprint 2025 requires a stronger undertaking in the presence of wider competition and vast opportunities in goods, services, skilled labor, investments and capital.
The meeting’s agenda includes the presentation of the Philippines’s economic priority deliverables for its Asean 2017 chairmanship, with the theme “Partnering for Change, Engaging the World”, as well as the commemorative events and activities to celebrate Asean’s 50th anniversary.
“For the Philippines, priority is in pushing for an Asean driven by inclusiveness and innovation,” the Philippine HLTF-EI lead highlighted. “One measure of success for this hosting is in terms of how many Filipinos and Asean nationals are we able to lift out of poverty through the policies and cooperative projects that we are able to introduce, institutionalize and implement during the hosting year.”
The Philippines’s agenda fully supports Asean in its Golden Jubilee year with specific actions that promote deeper and meaningful engagement with stakeholders and provide steps toward regional integration and cooperation.
The HLTF-EI is composed of Asean’s trade vice ministers from the 10 Asean economies, and functions primarily as an advisory body to the economic ministers of the Asean member-states.
Its primary responsibility is to ensure that the 10 Asean economies are on track and on time with the plans and programs intended to realize regional economic integration and achieve the vision of an Asean Economic Community. The 31st HLTF-EI meeting was held on February 15 and 16 in Manila.
The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the ASEAN Trade Union Council.
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