Highlights of APEC 2015

The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a forum of 21 Pacific Rim member countries that promotes free trade in the region. They are linked by their boundary with the Pacific Ocean. As such, India which has asked to join has not been allowed to do so.

Established in 1989, its aim is to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific economies. The member countries include Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, United States, and Vietnam. The total GDP of all the APEC countries is $44 trillion as of 2014. US and China account for over 60% of the total, more than all the other members combined.

Apec GDP

APEC ensures that goods, services, investment and people move easily across borders. Members facilitate this trade through faster customs procedures at borders; more favorable business climates behind the border; and aligning regulations and standards across the region. APEC operates as a cooperative, multilateral economic and trade forum. Member economies participate on the basis of open dialogue and respect for views of all participants.

The theme of this year’s APEC Summit held in the Philippines is “Building Inclusive Economies, Building a Better World.”

Some of the highlights from the summit include the following commitments:

  1. To support comprehensive and ambitious structural reforms; achieve positive economic, social, and environmental outcomes; and promote good governance. We recognize that corruption impedes economic sustainability and development and agree to combat the harmful effects of the illegal economy and to promote cultures of integrity across borders, markets, and supply chains.
  1. To foster an enabling trading environment that is responsive to new ways in which goods and services are produced and delivered and that promotes inclusiveness, especially for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. We need to develop policies that take full advantage of global value chains (GVC) and encourage greater participation and added value. We will promote competition, entrepreneurship, and innovation through effective and comprehensive measures, including balanced intellectual property (IP) systems and capacity-building.
  1. To build sustainable and disaster-resilient economies. We welcome and adopt the APEC Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) Framework to facilitate collective work in building adaptive and disaster-resilient economies supporting inclusive and sustainable development in the face of the “new normal.”
  1. To make urbanization work for growth. We remain committed to a new type of urbanization featuring green, energy-efficient, low-carbon, and people-oriented development.
  1. To redouble our efforts to empower our people with the tools to benefit from and participate in economic growth. In the current environment characterized by the rapid and ubiquitous use of technology, our people, in particular women and youth, need to be equipped not only with technical skills in science, technology, and innovation but must also be adaptable and resilient.

Occurring shortly after the Paris attacks, the summit also made a statement about terrorism and its impact to the global economy.

“We will not allow terrorism to threaten the fundamental values that underpin our free and open economies. Economic growth, prosperity, and opportunity are among the most powerful tools to address the root causes of terrorism and radicalization. We stress the urgent need for increased international cooperation and solidarity in the fight against terrorism. “

Read the full 2015 APEC declaration here: http://globalnation.inquirer.net/132206/full-text-2015-apec-economic-leaders-declaration-in-manila


A Philippine perspective of YOLO

Ireene Leoncio studied at Georgetown University and for two years served as my research and teaching assistant. Ireene worked in the advertising and media industry in New York City but is now back home in the Philippines. She is currently a Professor at De La Salle University Manila.

In this TEDx talk, Ireene explains her version of YOLO and FOMO. She goes on to talk about how her experience as a fish feeder and teaching assistant in this University inspired her to go back home and feed young minds.

Watch it here:

How Coke Uses Culture to be More Effective

By Josephine Tolosa

It’s been a few months since I moved to the United States from the Philippines and as I adjust to differences in culture and language, I cannot help but compare the subtle differences in the positioning of global brands. It intrigues me that while campaign slogans remain the same, the messaging and images they use to convey those taglines are very different.

The Share-a-Coke campaign, which was first rolled out in Australia a few years back and has been picked up in the US for the summer, was also introduced in the Philippines in 2014. This campaign allows you to personalize bottles by printing individual names or other social words such as Dad, Mom, or Bestie instead of the usual Coke label.

US Context

In the US, two ads were shown to introduce the campaign. The first one follows Bobby, the dog, as he searched for a bottle with his own name. I believe that this ad was targeted mostly to millennial and boomers which, if combined, make up an estimated 48% of the American population. The choice of personalizing a pet also has a wide appeal because according to the Humane Society, an estimated 47% of American households have a dog while 62% of households have at least one pet. The second ad was also targeted to a specific public, teenagers or Gen Z, and it shows a growing number of friends sharing a coke with each other.

Philippine Context

In the Philippines, the first ad was very simple and follows the same pattern as the US commercial. It shows a group of teenagers sharing Cokes with one another. Teens in the range of 15-24 comprise of 19% of the population. The second ad however was targeted to a wider audience: the working population and those in the age of 25-54. This makes up about 37% of the Philippine population.

Coke’s ads in both countries try to elicit certain emotions of connectivity and togetherness regardless of race, age, or even species. The target audiences are the same as well and Coke targets the same age range within the population. However, in the Philippine context, Coke adds another layer to its frame and message. It adds everyday situations to bring out emotions of gratitude, appreciation, and happiness. This is especially relevant for the 12th most populated country in the world where menial jobs are often taken for granted. I believe this was important for Coca-Cola so that it can extend its campaign and also tie in with their main slogan of happiness.

Especially now, when US sales have been stagnant, Coca-Cola has to step up efforts in order to maintain its success as a global brand. By effectively changing it’s framing and messaging to fit a country’s culture without changing its overall company’s positioning; I believe they have been successful.coca-cola-statistic_id225388_companys-market-share-in-the-us-2004-2013

For a non-soda drinker, it has been a while since Coke has caught my attention but this Share-a-Coke campaign has made me spend more time in the soda aisle, carefully checking for a bottle that holds names of my family and friends.

View the ads here:


Josephine Tolosa is taking her Master’s in Public Relations and Corporate Communications at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies. 

Haiyan. Holidays. Home.

Contributed by Ireene Leoncio for Thoughts on International Business, Marketing and Strategy | Professor Michael Czinkota of Georgetown University 

It is November, and it’s almost Christmas in the Philippines, a heavily Catholic, Southeast Asian nation recently hit by the super typhoon Haiyan. Gifts from all over the world had been pouring into the country’s Visayas region where the super storm affected an estimated 9.7 million people, and damaged 23,200 houses, as well as destroyed major parts of public infrastructure and agricultural land, according to USAID.

The country stricken by Haiyan on which there is a concentration of international news headlines for the past weeks is also my home. It is the place where I grew up and returned to a couple of months ago after studying and working for several years in Washington D.C. and New York City. My feeling was surreal to be home after years of just monitoring news about my country from the screen while I was residing in a foreign land.

My emotions brought about by super storm Haiyan were overwhelming but not puzzling. Afterall according to a Gallup study in 2012, the Philippines was cited as the world’s most emotional country. The absurdities and complexities that came with the bursting Filipino emotions are the very same reason why I went back home and had let go of the enticing offerings of the global financial, technology and commercial American hubs I embraced as my playground.  Being home made me feel much more alive surrounded by familiar faces and made me more self-aware but also more vulnerable to an interconnected world outside my own bubble.  Typhoon Haiyan also brought to the fore the special bonds formed with my international friends from various corners of the globe.

Family and friends with whom I had collective stories as we experienced the paralyzed New York City in 2012 brought on by Hurricane Sandy and braved through the threats of Hurricane Irene in 2011 in Washington DC reached out to me to simply check my safety or to ask for ways to send help from abroad in their own ways.  I directed some to diplomatic offices and non-government organizations who had been doing their share to unite the Filipinos abroad and at home in both blood and spirit. For example, the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. and the US-Philippine Society invited different organizations and proposed an initiative shoring up resources towards the goal of creating a mechanism where Filipinos in the diaspora can get engaged to address the aftermath of Haiyan and beyond. My Alma mater, Georgetown University, joined Jesuit Universities across the U.S. in marking a Day of Solidarity with the Philippines. Members of the campus community were invited to participate in this day via several fund-raising and commemoration activities igniting unity in a highly diverse campus with international students coming from more than one hundred countries.

“The fast approaching holiday season now has a different tone brought about the recent Haiyan tragedy as news from the site volunteers shares authentic stories of hope, optimism and restoration”, said Tito Cajulis of Gawad Kalinga, one of the few non-profit organization based in the Philippines with appeal and networks all over the world, dedicated to eradicate poverty and restore human dignity.  For me, this 2013 holiday season sparks a fresh significance. After spending my past four years of Christmas surviving bitter cold winter nights in the company of transient friends, I am thrilled to spend the warmth of the holidays in the Philippines this year after a hiatus from the comfortable smiles I grew up with. I was fully ready to embrace the chaos I had been used to and Super storm Haiyan just reinforced my paradigm shift brought about by my enchanted U.S. Capital and Empire State of mind immersion. I have seen for myself the renewed essence of holiday giving and community-building that goes far beyond the commercial festivities, religious affiliations or country of origin. I am awed by how my diverse and fragmented society stands united in times of catastrophe, and will make the rebuilding of destruction, healing of injuries and further progress as a country possible.

A lot of my peers observed that how they knew me before I left the Philippines is entirely different from the one they welcomed back for good. I am grateful for the transformation from the rough and tough course of nature. I am finally home -with or without Haiyan, for better or for worse.


Ireene Leoncio is a Georgetown Master international alumna from Manila, Philippines. She is an advocate of Professor Michael Czinkota’s “Curative International Marketing” thought of restoring and developing international economic health may be the next marketing direction. ‘Restoring’ indicates something lost which once was there. ‘Developing’ refers to new issues to be addressed with new tools and frames of reference. ‘Health’ in turn positions the issue as important to overall welfare, which marketing needs to address, resolve and improve. Marketers must deliver joy, pleasure, fulfillment, safety, personal growth, and achieve advancement towards a better society, and do so across borders.”