‘Intensify trade collaboration to promote recovery,’ --- Nograles

Countries should strengthen trade cooperation instead of just retreating into protectionism in a bid to promote economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, according to Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles.

Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Nograles said that revitalizing open and fair world trade is crucial so all nations could "survive together" and mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic.

"Economic recovery necessitates different countries coming together and promoting exchange and trade among countries – that’s how we get the global economy working again,” he said during a recent online media forum.

"We cannot allow COVID-19 to just force us to retreat to our own domestic economies, that’s not healthy for each and every country. We have to get trade, world trade, international trade also back on its feet," he added.

He noted that some countries apparently may want to protect their domestic economies to limit damage from the pandemic, but stressed it was about time to renew international trade to reverse the economic downturn.

"While countries right now have perhaps the tendency because of this pandemic to look inwards and try to create economic activity within its own  domestic economy just to get the economy running, in the, you know, medium term and I think now is the time to already start the ball rolling. International trade must renew and begin again," he said.

"So us being neighbors, well necessarily, a trade within our region, and you know for us to survive together, must begin again," he added.

The unprecedented health emergency has hurt the global economy as many nations imposed lockdown measures such as temporary border closures and travel restrictions to contain the spread of the diseases. Trade in goods and services, tourism, and education are among the sectors hit by the pandemic.

The World Trade Organization earlier said trade flows could fall between 13 percent to 32 per cent this year as the pandemic disrupts economic activities across the world. The trade body projected an L-shaped recovery next year depending on the duration of the pandemic, which has so far infected more than 32 million people across the globe.

At home, the country went into recession after the local economy shrank 16.5 percent in the second quarter of the year. in July, the country recorded an unemployment rate of 10 percent or an estimated 4.6 million Filipinos.

The government’s economic recovery plan includes the passage of the Bayanihan 2 law, the proposed 2021 national budget, and the implementation of the Build, Build, Build infrastructure program.