Press Release
February 18, 2008

Angara pushes for more bilateral and regional trade

Senator Edgardo Angara urges the government pursue more bilateral and regional trade to secure more markets, and not just rely on international institutions.

"The Doha development round, which has promised a more equitable globalization for developing countries, has long been a dead dream," said Senator Angara.

"How can we compete with developed countries that provide almost 300 billion in US dollars [agricultural] subsidies to their farmers? While the poor Filipino farmer receives little and late price subsidy, an American farmer receives 40% of its income comes from subsidy, while Japanese and Korean farmers' income subsidy reaches as high as 57%."

"If developing countries are to truly benefit from trade liberalization, then Doha should have leveled the playing field for us, especially when it comes to agricultural products. This has not happened, and neither the European Union nor the United States is willing to bulge towards more progressive agricultural trade."

According to Senator Angara, "the country should instead focus its efforts in pursuing our own bilateral and regional trade to secure more markets. For instance, we are currently renegotiating our trade agreement with the US, and preparing for our participation in the ASEAN Free Trade Area (AFTA) by 2015."

"This aggressive strategy in international trade should be backed by strengthening the country's capabilities, especially in agriculture and science and technology," Senator Angara, Chair of the Senate Committee on Agriculture and Food said.

"Around 40% of our population is still engaged in agriculture, and we should strengthen it to lift our farmers from rural poverty," he said.

"At the same time, we should, like many successful countries, embrace science and technology to leapfrog our way to development," Senator Angara who also chairs the Congressional Commission on Science, Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) said.

"That means we've got to improve our basic and tertiary education, and invest on frontier sciences that will liberate us from poverty: ICT, information communication technology; biotechnology for food, agriculture and medicine; neurotechnology for longevity and good health; and nanotechnology. Those are the four frontier sciences Filipinos must now learn in order to compete," Senator Angara explained.

"Globalization has created new wealth and vast opportunities, but this has not been distributed evenly. Shaping globalization so that it will work for everyone is a challenge both government and civil society must face."

News Latest News Feed