Following President Duterte’s vision to diversify and strengthen the country’s trade and investment relationship with other countries, the Philippines (PH) has revived the Joint Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation with Turkey, followed by a series of fora with ministerial and business chambers in Hungary. The Trade & Investment Mission will be led by DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, from February 5 to 9, 2018, which aims to promote as well the exports of more Philippine products to both markets and attract Turkish and Hungarian investors to do business and establish their operations in the country.
Co-organized by the Board of Investments (BOI) through the International Investments Promotion Service, Philippine Trade & Investment Centers (PTICs) in Paris and Berlin (with jurisdiction on Turkey and Hungary, respectively), and the Philippine Embassies in Ankara and Budapest, the Mission is in conjunction with the inaugural Philippine-Turkey Joint Committee for Trade, Economic and Technical Cooperation (PH-TR JCTEC) on February 6, 2018 in Ankara, Turkey. The Framework Cooperation agreement with Turkey was signed in 1999, but the talks have not advanced.
“The Philippines’ engagement with Turkey and Hungary is in line with the current Administration’s strategy of rebalancing investment and trade relations with non-traditional partners through the pursuit of an independent foreign policy. With the country’s solid economic fundamentals built on the upbeat confidence of investors on the Duterte administration’s reforms and programs to create sustainable growth, we are positive of getting more investments from our foreign economic partner countries such as Turkey and Hungary as we continue to promote the country as a prime investment destination,” said Sec. Lopez.
The Trade Secretary is joined by a 6-member delegation from the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Philippine-Turkish Business Council, United Architects of the Philippines, Integrated Micro-Electronics Incorporated, Malabon Longlife Trading Corporation, Megawide Airports Group & GMR-Megawide Cebu Airport Corporation, Philippine Food Service Equipment & Supplies and Great Crescent Flour Corporation.
For the Turkey leg, the delegation will promote construction; manufacturing particularly automotive, electronics, shipbuilding, and aerospace; Halal products; coconut products; personal care and IT Business Process Management, including creatives services—all of which were determined based on the existing priority sectors for trade and investment to Turkey validated by the Turkish Embassy in Manila and PTIC Paris and the Philippine Embassy Ankara.
The BOI represented by Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo, and Turkey’s Prime Ministry Investment Support & Promotion Agency represented by Vice President Mustafa Rumeli, are set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on exchanging information on investment environment and opportunities and sharing of experiences in attracting foreign investments as well as best practices in investments promotion.
The MOU also encourages interested local companies in setting up or expanding their businesses in the area of both participants, and provide support to facilitate inward investment to the extent possible under both parties’ respective laws and policies.
Meanwhile, for the Hungary leg, the delegation will meet with its counterpart led by Minister Peter Szijjarto, promote manufacturing particularly the sub-sectors of machineries, medical devices, automotive parts, aerospace, pharmaceuticals, food and agri-business; infrastructure; and shared services.
The two countries represented by Secretary Lopez and Minister Szijjarto agreed to pursue cooperation in said sectors during the Philippines- Hungarian Economic Cooperation Agreement held last March 28, 2017 in Manila.
Turkey and Hungary are minimal sources of foreign investments in the PH. On the trade side, in 2016, Hungary ranked as the PH’s 40th trading partner, 26th export market, and 64th import supplier. Turkey on the other hand was the country’s 45th trading partner, 45th export market, and 43rd import supplier.