CHINA TO GRADUALLY INCREASE DEVELOPMENT ASSISTANCE TO PH. Seeing the assuring growth in the economic relations with the Philippines (PH), China (CN) conveyed that it will increase development assistance to the Philippines.
At the sidelines of the PH hosting of the 49th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ (AEM) Meeting and Related Meetings, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez, who serves as the 2017 AEM chair, convened a bilateral meeting with his Chinese counterpart, Commerce Minister Zhong Shan.
PH and CN discussed various measures to enhance trade and investment relations arising from the PH-CN Six-Year Development Program (SYDP) for Trade and Economic Cooperation 2017-2022 (SYDP) and the Joint Commission on Economic and Trade Cooperation (JCETC).
As part of the realization of the priority activities under the SYDP, the ministers endorsed the finalization of the Memorandum of Understanding on Industrial Parks Development between the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) and China’s Ministry of Commerce.
“This initiative to develop industrial parks in the Philippines will help enhance the country’s manufacturing base and increase domestic production,” said Sec. Lopez.
A ground-breaking activity for some of the infrastructure projects under the SYDP was also proposed to be initiated within 2017. Said activity will be led by the respective infrastructure groups of both sides.
PH, meanwhile, mentioned potential areas for further cooperation including infrastructure, manufacturing (e.g. aircrafts parts, bicycles, e-vehicles, iron and steel, shipbuilding and irradiation facilities), cross-border e-commerce, big data analytics, and creative industries.
Both sides positively noted the improved trade and economic relations between PH and CN resulting from the Presidential Visit to China in October 2016, as well as from the successful convening of the JCETC in March 2017. PH exports to China increased to almost US$2.17 billion in January-April 2017, from US$1.69 billion in 2016. Further, PH exports of tropical fruits to China has increased remarkably in the 4th quarter of 2016 (compared to previous years), following the State Visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to China. In 2016, PH exports of bananas to China increased to US$144.77 million against US$109.15 million in 2015. During the same period, PH exports of pineapples more than doubled from US$16.26 million in 2015 to US$44.27 million.
Minister Zhong reiterated CN’s commitment to help PH rebalance trade by importing more from the country. He also invited PH to the China International Import Expo, which will be held in 2018. The Expo is part of CN’s move to further open its market and increase imports from other countries.
Minister Zhong also expressed his support for the growing interest of Chinese enterprises to invest and explore business opportunities in PH as demonstrated through the various letters of intent (LOIs) presented to the Board of Investments last March 2017.
In conclusion, the ministers agreed to work closely together to implement the consensus reached by their Leaders on pursuing practical and cooperative relations between both countries. PH also thanked CN for its support to ASEAN in driving the negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.
Malaysian investors bullish in investing in PH
PASAY CITY—At the sidelines of the Philippine (PH) hosting of the 49th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ (AEM) Meeting and Related Meetings on 8 September, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez convened a bilateral meeting with his Malaysian counterpart, Minister for International Trade and Industry Y.B. Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed.
The Philippines (PH) and Malaysia (MY) discussed various measures to enhance trade and investment relations including regional economic integration.
MY requested PH participation/support in its ASEAN internship program as a way to improve people-to-people interaction among college students. Under this program, interns will have the opportunity to gain experience in an ASEAN company.
PH, meanwhile, sought MY’s support in the development of the Halal industry through various capacity building initiatives, including trainings and internship. PH also followed up on the proposed cooperation in palm oil, given that this can be instrumental in developing key areas in Mindanao. MY indicated that it is working very closely with Indonesia in addressing the various issues facing the industry, including the environmental lobby in the EU and taxes.
PH requested MY to participate in the business matching activities for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as part of the activities for PH chairmanship.
MY underscored the need for a united ASEAN in moving forward with Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
In parallel development, MY investors remain bullish on pouring in more significant investments in the PH given the country’s robust economy buoyed by heavy spending in infrastructure projects, expanding market with a large young population and growing middle class, and the administration’s firm resolve to further ease the cost of doing business in the country and manage the peace and order situation in Mindanao.
A proof of such confidence was the recent (6 September) launching of the Malaysia Chamber of Commerce Inc. (MCCI) in Manila. Led by Malaysian Minister for International Trade and Industry Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed, MCCI serves as MY’s business network group in PH, advancing the concerns and interests of the growing MY investors in PH.
Sec. Lopez, who also serves as the Board of Investments (BOI) Chairman, is pleased with the vote of confidence of MY businessmen in PH.
“During President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to Malaysia in November 2016, Malaysian business leaders expressed confidence in the many investment opportunities in the Philippines,” said Sec. Lopez, adding that these businessmen expressed interest in investing in infrastructure, mass transportation development, building of regional centers, joint ventures in agribusiness, halal-certified products, and high value post-harvest processing facilities.
“Malaysia has always seen the Philippines, particularly Mindanao, as an investment destination of choice because we are neighbors, and we share almost the same culture,” he added.
Meanwhile, MCCI President Edward Ling said that MY companies are keen on investing in PH particularly in the sectors of information technology, construction, energy, manufacturing, and retail.
“We are very encouraged by the seriousness of the administration in addressing the concerns of both the current and potential investors in doing business in the country. We will relay this to our Malaysian investors for them to pursue more investment missions in the Philippines,” he said.
MY has huge investments globally. In PH, MY investments have been on a steady growth in the recent years. Approved MY investments by all the investment promotion agencies (IPAs) reached Php219.038 billion in 2016.
In the first eight months of 2017, MY investments registered with all IPAs reached Php26.242 billion. Of these figures, total BOI-registered MY investments amounted to Php4.33 billion from 2012 up to January to August 2017.
Top MY investments in PH are in the industries of agriculture, forestry and fishing; manufacturing; power; water supply, sewerage, and waste management; construction; wholesale and retail trade; transportation and storage; information and communication; financial and insurance activities; real estate activities, and administrative and support activities.
MOSCOW—Following the USD 875 million-worth of potential investments secured between the Philippines (PH) and Russia, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez endeavored to strengthen PH-Russia business links by engaging, in separate fora, top chambers of commerce in Moscow and St. Petersburg on 25 and 26 May.
“I consider business fora in Moscow and St. Petersburg successful because of the good networking and business leads created from both sides,” said Sec. Lopez, adding that participants mostly Russians (70%) in Moscow forum reached about 450, while in St. Petersburg about 200.
“These Russian businessmen came from the industries of pharmaceutical, manufacturing, construction materials, iron and steel, property development, power energy, to name a few,” he added.
In both fora, the trade chief shared the Dutertenomics strategy for inclusive growth and emphasized PH’s current growth story characterized by strong macro-economic fundamentals, strong investors’ confidence and good governance.
Earlier, Sec. Lopez met with the principals and heads of the Business Russia Federation, composed of large-scale entrepreneurs in the area of pharmacy, medicine and mining. They were introduced to potential company partners in the Philippine business delegation.
A CEO Roundtable followed involving Russia’s top business executives from Business Russia, R-Pharma (pharmaceutical products, medical research) and Vi Holdings Group(metallurgy, mining and processing, power and energy, real estate).
Pharmaceutical, PPP, infrastructure
Sec. Lopez sought Russian businessmen’s involvement in developing the country’s infrastructure and public-private partnership (PPP) projects. He also reiterated relevance of adopting an inclusive growth model, integrating micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in the value chain of bigger companies.
Sec. Lopez and PH team showcased various trade and investment opportunities available to Russian businessmen, as well as key industries, wherein PH has comparative advantage.
In Moscow on 25 May, Sec. Lopez, Science & Technology Sec. Fortunato dela Peña, Agriculture Sec. Manny Piñol and trade officials exchanged views with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation (CCIRF), which represents the interests of small, medium-size, and big enterprises in manufacturing, domestic and foreign trade, agriculture, the finance system, and the services sectors in Russia.
Russian Deputy Minister for Economic Development Alexander Tsybulskiy led the Russian delegation with CCIRF President Sergey Katyrin.
In St. Petersburg on 26 May, PH team held a business forum with St. Petersburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the largest chamber of commerce in the Russian Federation. St. Petersburg is home to many economic clusters and is also known as an industrial, cultural, logistical and pharmaceutical center.
St. Petersburg Forum attendees also conducted networking with their counterparts, with St. Petersburg businessmen presenting their priority industries with focus on the pharmaceutical cluster.
More cooperation areas ahead
On 26 May, PH delegation also met St. Petersburg’s Chairman of the Committee for External Relations Evgeny Grigoriev, who immediately expressed intent to help in the field of cheaper medicine and pharmaceuticals industry, and healthcare solutions.
“They are also advanced in marine and naval engineering, and offer training and apprenticeship to Filipinos, as well as in education scholarships in life science and research institutions which St. Petersburg is known for,” said Sec. Lopez.
The trade chief also confirmed that PH will also do industrial cooperation agreements to promote common interests in iron and steel, machineries, pharmaceuticals, agribusiness, shipbuilding and ship repair, automotive, aerospace as well as in culture, arts and many more.
“The focus really is on the pharmaceutical cluster, which is one of the biggest industries in St. Petersburg and can be a strategic avenue to cooperate with the Philippines, specifically in support of the President’s health program,” he said.
Securing business climate
Sec. Lopez said that Russian businessmen “like a lot the strong leadership of President Duterte in his approach towards lawless elements,” adding that Russian businessmen “are ready to help.”
PH-Russia bilateral economic relations is in nascent stage, according to him. There is concrete intention to thoroughly explore the opportunities and potentials that arise from the capabilities and strengths of each other’s industries.
“This is just the beginning of our deep and strong partnership with Russia. They await with excitement the return of President Duterte to Russia and they will certainly extend more fields of cooperation, building on what we have started,” he concluded.
TAGBILARAN CITY, April 19 (PIA)–To ring the message across that he abhors criminalities, President Rodrigo Duterte issues the order to just anyone: get them, dead or alive.
And by everyone, his order did not just mean for the government operatives, he also addressed to civilians willing to finally end the terror and hunt down the remnants of the group of armed Abu Sayyaf bandits contained in the fields of Inabanga.
Coming to Bohol not on his official, but on his personal schedule, President Duterte who just came in from a state visit in the middle east immediately flew to Bohol to be briefed on the Inabanga incident that left 3 military, one police and 4 deaths from the notorious kidnap for ransom group.
Two of those who died were a couple identified as relatives of the local guide of the bandits are still under investigation, explained Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of Staff, General Eduardo Año.
Government troops sweeping the war zone also recovered bomb making tools and electronic parts that can be used to manufacture bombs.
The Abus Sayyaf incursion to Bohol, over 600 kilometers from their strongholds in Basilan, happened in time for the international gathering of leaders of the countries in southeast Asia in Panglao.
“I am here just to warn everybody, my order is to demolish them,” Duterte spoke to Bohol and national media after an hour and 45 minutes of briefings of the Inabanga incident and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Trade meetings set from April 18-21, at the Hennan Resort in Panglao.
“To civilians interested to fight and kill, my order [to them] is dead or alive,” the President was again fearless of the repercussions of his hard and unwavering stance against criminality.
He also announced he is raising the one million pesos bounty for every member of the Abu Sayyaf stragglers hiding in the vicinities of Napo, in Inabanga, Bohol.
Earlier, the provincial government posted a P100,000 bounty per head for anyone who could share information leading to the capture any one of the 7 bandits.
Now led by a local recruit Joselito Melloria, the bandits could not go far as three of them were wounded, according to Armed Forces of the Philippines Intelligence officer Lt. Col Adolfo Espuelas Jr,.
Espuelas, who head the Intelligence Service of the AFP said Melloria nurses a wound in the left back shoulder and left foot, another young fighter with a wound in the right leg and yet another fighter with wound in the right butt.
The strugglers have only 3 M16 rifles, one fitted with an M203 grenade launcher, one M14, a depleted ammunition supply, an analog cell phone with spare batteries, no food, no local support, have been sleepless and are on the run without any more capacity to fight, Espuelas added.
In rounding up the citizens as well as the government troops to account for the fleeing bandits, the apparently tired president who earlier came to the security briefing on the Inabanga incident and the Bohol said, he wants them dead, not alive to skip from the trouble of feeding criminals.
The President also clarified that the order also applies to drug personalities and terrorists. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)