CEBU CITY – The Philippines’ recent passage of the Competition Act, lauded by the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Committee (EC), will promote innovation in various key industries, according to Deputy Director General Emmanuel F. Esguerra who is also the head of the Philippine delegation to the APEC Third Senior Officials Meeting (SOM3).

Rory McLeod, Chair of the APEC-EC, commended the passage of the Competition Law during the APEC-EC Second Plenary Meeting in Cebu City on September 2 and 3, 2015.

“APEC highlights the importance of competition laws and policies as they encourage innovation and free and fair competition among key industries, including manufacturing and logistics,” said Esguerra.

“The Competition Law ensures a level playing field in trade, industry and all commercial economic activities. It pushes firms to be innovative in improving goods and services, which, in turn, makes them more productive and efficient. As a result, consumers are provided with more choices of quality goods and services at lower prices,” he added.

Esguerra also stressed the need for firms to invest in innovation to sustain productivity and growth. In particular, it is important for their survival especially in a competitive market environment. Innovative firms adopt improved technology, designs, marketing and organizational approaches to enhance competitiveness in their industries.

“The development of ICT (Information and Communications Technology), for example, makes it easier for micro-small and medium enterprises to access global markets by use of online facilities, making them more competitive” said Esguerra.

The Philippines joins the more than 130 economies around the world that have implemented competition laws in one form or another, according to a study presented by the APEC Policy Support Unit during the EC meeting,

The Structural Reform Ministerial Meeting, set on September 7 and 8, 2015, will discuss, among others, reforms that seek to remove barriers to growth and open more and better local and global opportunities for industries, particularly MSMEs. These reforms are deemed critical for ensuring inclusivity of growth, the goal of APEC.

Aside from competition policies, Ministers will also discuss ease of doing business programs and public governance matters.

Esguerra said that while the competition policy in general can provide a framework in implementing related regulations, economies still need to tailor their policy reforms according to their respective circumstances and local challenges.

“Governments need to identify and recognize the effects that their policies have on innovation, so that they can make informed decisions about these policies, and if possible mitigate or remove impediments to firm-level innovation,” said Esguerra, who will serve as the head of delegation for the Philippines at the SRMM, which will be chaired by Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning Arsenio M. Balisacan.

The APEC Economic Policy Report 2015, with the theme of Structural Reform and Innovation, will have a chapter on Competition Policy and Innovation authored by the Philippines.