MANILA, Philippines?With the world becoming increasingly flat, the government should veer away from protectionist policies and instead find ways to make local industries globally competitive.
Jesse Ang, country representative of World Bank private sector arm International Finance Corp., said the country should ?open up? more, as many of its neighbors were doing that and in an aggressive manner.
?We really need to open up. If the gates are open, then we should take advantage of it,? he said in a recent forum. ?We as a country have used protectionist policies for far too long. That?s why our industries are not competitive. We should join the bigger market. This is the way the world?s going. We really need to learn to compete.?
Asian Institute of Management Policy Center associate director Lai-Lynn Barcenas added that the country also needed a ?cohesive industrial development, trade and competition policy.?
To boost the country?s competitiveness, she said concrete steps would have to be taken to improve the country?s energy infrastructure, road networks, and other infrastructure needed to do business.
These should be done in parallel with the lowering of tariffs as provided for by various regional and bilateral free-trade agreements.
Specific to the local automotive sector, Philippine Institute of Development Studies senior research fellow Rafaelita Aldaba said the government should come up with ?more focused policies? to make the sector truly competitive.
Incentives to the auto sector should be geared toward research and development to improve current processes and methods, she said. Development in the fields of parts supply should also be given proper attention.
The Board of Investments is in the process of crafting the implementing rules and regulations for Executive Order 877-A, or the Comprehensive Motor Vehicle Development Program.
The EO aims to make the local auto sector more competitive and to develop the country as an export base.