Trade policy hub in Mindanao to rise soon

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/ 17 August) – The Mindanao Trade Policy Center (MTPC) will be launched here next Friday to push the business sector’s agenda in helping shape the economic growth in Southern Philippines.

MeAnne Lunasco, project officer of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry-Mindanao (PCCI-Mindanao), said the launching would be the highlight of the forum on the ASEAN Regional Integration, which is expected to materialize in 2015.

“The MTPC will serve as the policy center for Mindanao business chambers. It will facilitate the advocacy programs that the Mindanao chambers are channeling to the government for possible intervention,” she said.

She was referring to the “Mindanao Business Policy” submitted to the Office of the President after the annual Mindanao Business Conference (MinBizCon).

The MinBizCon is one of the major annual business events in Mindanao that was started in 1991. It gathers business and government leaders to discuss issues confronting the sector as well as to promote the investment climate of the island.

The United States Agency for International Development, through its Growth With Equity in Mindanao program, has been supporting the MinBizCon since its birth.

Lunasco said the MTPC would also act as the information center for the ASEAN Integration programs and initiatives.

It will also act as linkage for business chambers in Mindanao to face the ASEAN block as one market in Asia, she added.

Ricardo C. Juliano, PCCI-Mindanao vice governor, said the ASEAN 2015 Regional Integration forum on August 24 seeks to increase the awareness of people in Mindanao on the ASEAN Charter, which was signed during last year’s ASEAN summit.

The ASEAN Community, which is expected to materialize in 2015, will be based on three pillars, namely, “a security community, an economic community and a socio-cultural community,” the group’s briefer said.

The formation of the ASEAN Community is expected to lead to the creation of a single market and production-based region with a free flow of goods, services and capital, it added.

The 2015 ASEAN Integration seeks to make the bloc a key player in international economy and politics like the European Union.

The forum is in cooperation with the Sarangani Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (Bong S. Sarmiento / MindaNews)