Diokno pushes deeper Indo-Pacific regional integration

The Department of Finance (DOF) raised the country’s need to establish strategic cooperation, resilient supply chains, and solid digital infrastructure among its regional peers in the Indo-Pacific to boost growth.

During the recent Indo-Pacific Business Forum, Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno said that deepening regional integration among the economies is the quickest path to shared prosperity and inclusive growth.

The Indo-Pacific region represents 60 percent of the world’s population and two-thirds of global economic growth over the last five years.

It is also the fastest-growing economic region and is projected to be the largest contributor to global growth over the next 30 years.

Last May, US President Joe Biden launched the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) with Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam as initial partners.

The 14 members of the IPEF alone account for 40 percent of the global gross domestic product (GDP) and 28 percent of global goods and services trade.

The Framework will help lower costs by making the country’s supply chains more resilient in the long term, thereby protecting it against costly disruptions that lead to higher prices for consumers.

“Together, we hold the power to shape the trajectory of the global economy in the twenty-first century and usher in a new age of prosperity—one that is characterized by interconnectedness, inclusivity, fairness, and sustainability,” Diokno said.

The World Trade Organization (WTO) warned that a slowing global growth may affect the balance of trade among countries in an already difficult economic climate.

Therefore, the Philippines has made inflation a top priority. The government is carefully balancing monetary and fiscal measures to reduce the impact of rising commodity prices on the most vulnerable sectors of society without compromising economic growth.

Furthermore, the government is revisiting areas where it can enhance the policy environment and explore new opportunities for high and broad-based growth, which will be aligned with the emerging trends in the global economy.

In particular, Diokno noted that the mining industry holds the greatest potential to be a key driver in the country’s recovery and long-term growth, especially now that world metal prices are high.

“The Philippines, after all, is one of the world’s most richly endowed countries in terms of mineral resources. As such, we will harness the potential of the extractive sector to drive long-term economic expansion,” Diokno said.

“In the same vein, we are committed to making the Philippines competitive in the semiconductor and electronics industry,” he added.

The semiconductor and electronics industry is the top contributor to the Philippines’ manufacturing sector and represents its largest export sector.

With this, Diokno expects output in the next 12 months to remain optimistic with hopes of demand expansion.

Apart from these, the Philippines is also pursuing energy transition, and has opened up the renewable energy sector to full foreign ownership.

A more liberalized renewable energy sector will quicken the country’s transition towards a clean, affordable, and desirable mix of energy sources, which in turn will create more green jobs as envisioned in the Philippine Development Plan 2023 to 2028.

“With stronger ties and an integrated supply chain, we can facilitate a seamless trade of goods that will contribute to the just global transition to renewable energy powered by advanced technology,” Diokno said.