By Rosemarie A. Zamora
President Rodrigo R. Duterte is set to meet US President Donald J. Trump for the first time on Nov. 08, Wednesday, to attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit to be held in Vietnam.
Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Leo Herrera-Lim on Monday, Nov. 6, said the two will be meeting during the welcome dinner on Wednesday.
“Well, there are several opportunities both at the Welcome Dinner on the 8th, and then there will also be several engagements including Gala Dinner and the meeting itself under the APEC and the meeting between APEC and ASEAN that will happen in Vietnam,” Mr. Lim said, referring to a possible bilateral meeting between Mr. Duterte and Mr. Trump.
“So, there’s several, several opportunities for exchanges. I think, if you see pretty much a convergence between the two Presidents would be: one, on national security, both at the country level and at the regional level; and then number two, the desire to grow the different engines of global economy. So that, at least, there will be a bigger participation of the population in the benefits of a free, open trading system,” he added.
Mr. Duterte will be in Vietnam for the APEC Summit from Nov. 8 to 11.
Aside from Mr. Trump, Mr. Lim said it is likely that the president will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin at the APEC Summit since the two leaders will not be attending the ASEAN.
“If they’re not sure of attending ASEAN [summit], they most likely will request for [a meeting with] the President,” he added.
Mr. Lim stressed that in this year’s APEC, the Philippines’ priorities in the meetings would include micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the global economy, sustainable and inclusive growth, connectivity, and human resources development.
“There’s an opportunity to interact with the ASEAN Business Advisories or the top businessmen of our region,” Mr. Lim said.
“It’s pretty much a drive or a push for the micro, the small, and the medium, enterprises. Not only within the Philippines but across the region,” he added.
Mr. Lim noted the importance of APEC to the Philippines as a regional economic bloc, stressing that “nine out of our ten top trading partners are within the APEC Economies.”
“During the past year the Duterte administration has made inclusive growth and pro-poor agenda, so the hallmarks of its development plan; and this ties into bringing MSMEs into the global value chain,” he said.