Asian brain drain due to globalization—RODY
DA NANG, Vietnam—President Rodrigo Duterte called on the business community on Thursday to promote inclusive growth among those who do not feel the benefits of free trade and globalization at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit here.
While remaining firm in his support of free trade and inclusive growth, Duterte insisted that the businesses should continue to provide opportunities to those at the “bottom of the pyramid.”
“Apec needs the cooperation of the business community to address the pessimism and suspicion of those who do not feel the benefits of free trade and globalization. As leaders in our respective fields, we must ensure that globalization does not lead to wealth generation, but equitable wealth distribution as well,” said Duterte, who spoke before the region’s top business leaders during the Apec CEO Summit.
He said “remedial measures” should also be made, as globalization “to a certain extent has really damaged poor economies.”
Asked on his thoughts on protectionist measures by some Apec countries, Duterte cited China among those who have benefitted from free trade, while America has suffered when businesses opted to move to other countries with lower taxes.
“America was the first victim of globalization. And that is why Trump is trying to rule them back and set America first,” he said.
Globalization has been bad for the Philippines, too, he said, leading to a brain drain.
“The best of our young minds, Filipinos, the summa cum laude, the valedictorians upon graduation, they go somewhere else, most of them in America,” Duterte said.
Speaking on the valuable lessons as the outgoing chairman of the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Duterte challenged businesses to open the opportunity for micro, small, and medium enterprises, which have been on the lower end of the global supply chain.
“As CEOs of big business, you are in a unique position to effect change. To the extent that you can, involve as many MSMEs in your own supply chains,” Duterte said.
“You can involve as many MSMEs in your own country and retail operations. Through this, you do not only integrate them in the way you do business, you also unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of our peoples,” he added.
To unleash the full potential of globalization, Duterte said that governments and businesses should create an inclusive environment where everyone has the opportunity for growth.
This can be achieved through the promotion of competition, complementation, cooperation among businesses, Duterte said.
“Diversity will always pull us in separate directions, but regional integration anchored on open and free trade will allow us to maximize the opportunities presented by global trends like cross-border flows and digital developments,” he added.
He also called on Asean member-economies to “act as one.”
“If Europe can do it with its union and America is starting to revive its industries, why can’t we, the Asean, do it,” the President added.
Asean and its six FTA partners are now currently working on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, or RCEP, to deepen integration in the larger Asia-Pacific region.
Seven of the 10 Asean economies are involved in Apec and continue to tend to the collective interests of fellow Asean 10 members Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.
For the first time, Vietnam as chairman of APEC and the Philippines as chairman of Asean, will hold the first ever Apec- Asean Informal Dialogue on Friday, Nov. 10, which would try to reinforce a thriving transpacific exchange, Duterte said.