THE World Trade Organization (WTO) fifth policy review of the Philippines concluded with members noting the strides the country has made in growing its economy, specifically its role in strengthening the global trading system and its “active” role in advancing negotiations for fisheries subsidies.
In a statement, the WTO review panel’s chairperson, Colombia’s Juan Carlos Gonzales, added, “Members also recognized the Philippines’ contribution in promoting the work in the WTO on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).”
In a separate statement, the Department of Foreign Affairs said: ”Member economies of the World Trade Organization (WTO) praised the Philippines’ economic performance,” read the agency’s statement sent over the weekend.
The policy review took place on March 26 and 28 in Geneva.
DTI Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo, who headed the interagency Philippine delegation, highlighted the Philippines’ economic performance during the review period in which he also touted the government’s programs for eradicating poverty by making growth more inclusive.
Mr. Gonzales, Colombia’s Permanent Representative to the WTO, said the review panel fielded 330 questions from 22 WTO members during the review process.
The WTO noted the Philippines’ 6.6% six-year average GDP growth rate between 2012 and 201.
The WTO Secretariat report, which was released before the review, had cited concerns about the complexity of the trade license and permit application process and barriers to wider foreign participation in sectors such as agriculture.
The secretariat also noted that foreign participation in government procurement remains low. — Janina C. Lim