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Philippines ready to join coalition of WTO trade ministers to address climate change

THE Trade department said on Wednesday that the Philippines is ready to join the coalition to be formed by the members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) working to address the impact of climate change.

Trade Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo represented the Philippines at a mini ministerial meeting on climate change in Geneva on June 13, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said in a statement.

The meeting was held on the sidelines of the 12th WTO Ministerial Conference, which took place from June 12 to 15, in which ministers reviewed the functioning of the multilateral trading system.

“During the meeting, ministers committed to strengthen engagement and dialogue with a view to creating a Coalition of Trade Ministers to address climate change,” the DTI said.

Mr. Rodolfo said the Philippines, a climate vulnerable country, “supports the vision of a coalition of Trade Ministers to respond to climate change and supports revitalizing plurilateral engagement on environmental goods and services that builds on work in other fora like APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation).”

The department noted that the coalition can provide guidance on the “scope and approach” to future negotiations.

Mr. Rodolfo also said during the meeting that the Philippines has aggressive goals in terms of supporting the transition to clean energy.

“For us to meet these ambitions, developing countries must forge partnerships with the developed world on financing, technology transfer, and technical assistance,” he noted.

The Philippines is following a sustainable finance roadmap, the DTI said, adding that it has just enacted a law aimed at developing the electric vehicle industry.

“The Philippines is now co-leading with Australia a work stream on promoting trade to tackle plastics pollution,” it added.

Mr. Rodolfo said countries must continue to share experiences in dealing with the problem and contribute to the multilateral treaty on plastics.

“He called for further cooperation on this front to pursue strategies that would reduce single-use plastics and support sustainable plastic packaging,” the DTI said.

It noted that packaging accounts for almost 50% of the plastics market in the Philippines. — Arjay L. Balinbin