Business Urged to Help Gov't in Trade Negotiations

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Byline: EDU H. LOPEZ

The influential Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) has called on trade negotiators to work hard in international trade agreements and urged local business groups to share their concerns in evolving a national negotiating position.

Ambassador Donald G. Dee, PCCI President, made the twin calls during the recent business consultations on trade negotiations.

Dee was recently appointed special envoy on international trade negotiations to sit with the government panel in forthcoming trade talks representing the private sector.

Ongoing talks beside those in WTO are with Japan and China. Forthcoming are bilateral talks with the US and ASEAN talks with India, Australia and New Zealand.

A series of regional conferences between trade negotiators engaged World Trade Organization (WTO) trade talks and business leaders, have been lined up to get the private sector to help formulate a unified national strategy in ongoing and future trade talks.

"Think long term. Our strategy is to sustain our future, and provide for the needs of the next generation. The issues on services, agriculture and industrial agreements, all have one thing in common - they define our future as a nation," he told the government negotiators.

"On the whole, we negotiate economic agreements in the hope of speeding up our efforts to attain progress and lick mass poverty," Dee pointed out.

Lining up a negotiating guide posts based on the country's national economic interest, Dee said that in agriculture, the strategy must be to make the Philippines self-sufficient in food, not over-dependent on food imports. …