PH, Russia preparing for Duterte's visit to Moscow

THE Philippines and Russia are set to hold their inaugural session on trade and economic cooperation during the first semester of this year in preparation for President Rodrigo Duterte's visit to Moscow, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said Thursday.

Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo met recently with Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation Alexander Tsybulskiy in Manila during the Co-Chairs’ Meeting of the Philippines–Russia Joint Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation (JCTEC).

The Co-Chairs’ meeting discussed various areas of cooperation—including trade and investments, agriculture, industry, energy, manufacturing, infrastructure, transport, tourism, science and nuclear technology, labor and higher education—that will be tabled during the inaugural session of the recently created JCTEC.

"The inaugural session is scheduled to convene in the first half of 2017 in Manila in preparation for the visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to Russia," DTI said.

During their first meeting in Lima, Peru where they both attended the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum, Russian President Vladimir Putin invited Duterte to visit Moscow.

Duterte said he would visit Russia when it is not cold there anymore.

“The JCTEC complements the administration’s policy to engage other countries in the Asia Pacific region. The engagement has generated strong private sector interest and we see great prospects for collaboration in many areas,” Rodolfo said.

The JCTEC, which was established in November 2015, is the primary bilateral mechanism for both sides to discuss ways to enhance trade, investments and economic cooperation.

In 2015, Russia was the Philippines’ 31st trading partner (out of 223), 44th export market (out of 211), and 27th import supplier (out of 203).

The top Philippine export products to Russia are carrageenan, seaweeds and other algae; while the top imports of the Philippine from Russia are petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals.

"To improve current bilateral trade relations, the Philippines is set to maximize opportunities in the Russian market as it becomes more globally integrated. The convening of the 1st Philippine-Russia JCTEC will be an ideal opportunity to initiate deepening of bilateral economic ties," DTI said. (SDR/SunStar Philippines)

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