TRADE Secretary Ramon Lopez has urged businessmen from South Korea to increase their trade and investments in the Philippines especially as the two countries gear up for signing of a free trade agreement (FTA).
“We are confident that trade in our country with the signing of the FTA will further expand,” he said during the opening of the Korean-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) FTA Support Center. “The importance of this FTA to the Philippines cannot be overstated, as this will open a new and enhanced market for Philippine products,” he added.
The FTA with South Korea is expected to be signed in November 2019.
He, particularly, cited Philippine bananas and other tropical fruits, while South Korea gains more market access in its automotive parts and manufactured products.
In 2018, South Korea was the country’s fourth major trading partner. It is the Philippines’ eighth export market and top import supplier.
“In other words, we import more than (we) export to Korea, and I appreciate the efforts right from the Ambassador to the Philippines from Korea himself saying that in order to prosper, the two countries should have a win-win and a neutrally beneficial trading relationship. So as we try to grow our two-way trade, there is supposed to be a consciousness on balancing the trade between our two countries,” he added.
The trade chief further invited the business community in South Korea to expand its investments in the Philippines and take advantage of the country’s economic breakthrough.
Lopez said the Philippines is still the second fastest growing economy among Asean members, next to Vietnam.
“Aside from many strong economic fundamentals and a highly skilled workforce, the Philippine government has enacted several reform measures to ensure the protection of investments from foreign investors,” he said.
In 2018, Lopez said the Duterte administration pushed for the enactment of Republic Act 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business law, which enhances the existing Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007. The law is already in effect. PHILEXPORT NEWS AND FEATURES