Duterte: Stronger APEC-ASEAN cooperation can reduce poverty

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 11) — President Rodrigo Duterte said the "biggest dividend" of greater collaboration between two of the world's major regional groups is the potential to reduce poverty.

"I see two initial ways that ASEAN strengthens APEC," Duterte said in his Friday speech at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Informal Dialogue in Vietnam.

"Collaborating with APEC on common areas of interest, ASEAN can potentially play the role of a regional pathfinder for APEC's initiatives," he said. "ASEAN can also serve as APEC's institutional memory and provide consistency to APEC's role as an incubator of ideas and driver of regional economic growth and integration."

APEC is a regional economic forum established in 1989 that aims to promote sustainable economic growth and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region. It is comprised of 21 members, with the Philippines as one of its founding members.

In its joint statement released on Saturday, APEC foreign ministers promised to implement a Philippine-led initiative that aims to encourage the participation of small businesses in the global trade.

Read: APEC ministers pledge to implement Boracay Action Agenda

Meanwhile, the ASEAN is a regional bloc that was set up in 1967. It has 10 member-states, with the Philippines also one of its founding members.

The Philippines is hosting from Nov. 10 to 14 the 31st ASEAN Summit, which gathers heads of state and government from the member countries and its dialogue partners.

The leaders are expected to discuss various issues, from tension in the Korean peninsula to the South China Sea.

Duterte said the "common interests" of APEC and ASEAN can "give birth to collaborative models using hard infrastructure."

"These include, among others, digital and maritime connectivity, efficient logistics, disaster preparedness and management, technology, MSMEs and inclusive growth," he said. "An integrated region like ASEAN, which has developed the tools to achieve this, is a good place to start."-XXX-