GENEVA - The Philippines welcomed the establishment of the ASEAN Regional Strategy Group (RSG) during the recently-held World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland as ASEAN prepares to mark its 50th Anniversary in 2017.

"Our participation in the WEF is an opportune time for us to advance the Philippine's current thrusts as chair of the ASEAN and the growing recognition of ASEAN as an economic force," said Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez.

Secretary Lopez was among the invited pioneer members of the newly created ASEAN RSG of the WEF.

He discussed the country's views on raising awareness about ASEAN and how to promote it as a destination for trade and investment at the inaugural meeting of the ASEAN RSG at the WEF on January 20.

In the RSG's Discussion Group on Regional Economic Integration, Secretary Lopez proposed the idea for ASEAN to come up or initiate a set of guidelines for non-tariff barriers (NTBs) across ASEAN members, setting standards that will minimize trade restricting measures being imposed by an ASEAN member to its fellow members.

The RSG is a multi-stakeholder group, composed of regional leaders from government, business and academic, that has been set up to provide strategic guidance, insight and oversight of the Forum's activities in ASEAN and to define a common vision and agenda for ASEAN's growth and development.

Formed and launched in 2016, the RSG meets twice a year, once in Davos, and once at the Forum's ASEAN Summit. The meeting in Davos in January 2017 was the first convening of this group.

As ASEAN Chair this year, the Philippines adopted the theme "Partnering for Change, Engaging the World."

The Philippines' chairmanship coincides with the 50th anniversary of the founding of ASEAN, and has included as one of its thematic priorities an ASEAN Community that promotes inclusive, innovation-led growth - a community that heightens connectivity among its members, conducive for business and opportunities and investments, including micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and supportive of inclusive innovation towards shared prosperity.

Founded in 1967, ASEAN has since matured into a community focused on economic integration and growth, and consensus-building. It is both the world's seventh-largest market and third-largest labor force, and has been projected to become the fourth-largest economic bloc by 2030.

The 47th EF Annual Meeting took place from January 17 to 20 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, under the theme Responsive and Responsible Leadership. END

Source: Republic of Philippines Department Of Foreign Affairs