Marcos reports ‘productive’ visits in Germany, Czech Republic

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (Presidential Communications Office Photo)

PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said on Saturday, March 16, 2024, that his visit to Germany and the Czech Republic have been very productive as he met with top-ranking government officials and business leaders and discussed with them ways to strengthen the ties of the two countries, especially through trade and investments.

Marcos arrived in Manila on Saturday afternoon (local time) after his six-day visit in Germany and the Czech Republic.

The President has secured a total of $4 billion worth of investment deals and memorandum of understanding (MOU) during the six-day trip, promoting trade and investments, particularly in the sectors of renewable energy, manufacturing, innovation and startups, IT-BPM, minerals processing, agriculture, space, and aerospace.

He said it includes the expansion of Lufthansa Technik, a German company, in the Philippines, which entails the construction of a second hangar in Clark, amounting to $150 million, or P8 billion.

Marcos met with all four top-ranking government officials of the Czech Republic.

Prague President Petr Pavel and his wife First Lady Eva Pavlová hosted a dinner toast at the Prague Castle for Marcos and his delegation.

In his remarks, Marcos highlighted the strong relationship between the Philippines and the Czech Republic.

“The Czech Republic has found many, many parallels with the two countries that are built upon— well for the history, is the remarkable connections between the Czech Republic and the Philippines starting of course with, I think everyone is aware of the experience of our national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal here in Prague as he was mentored by his friend, Ferdinand Blumentritt,” Marcos said.

“The relationship between the Czech Republic and the Philippines, I believe from this point on, will not only continue but will grow stronger, and grow more robust, and this will be of course of mutual benefit to both our countries,” the President added as he emphasized the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic ties of the two countries.

Three MOUs were signed between Czech business leaders and the Philippines through the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), particularly in the semi-conductor and IT-BPM sectors.

The first MOU was signed by Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation Inc. president Dr. Danilo Lachica, and Electrical and Electronic Association of the Czech Republic President Jiři Holoubek for the cooperation in extensive initiatives on the bilateral exchange of information, organization of bilateral trade, economic development and exchange missions, skills, and knowledge and innovation.

IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines, Inc. president and CEO Jonathan Jack R. Madrid and Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic Vice President Milena Jaburkova signed the second MOU for the promotion of trade and investment between the Philippines and the Czech Republic in terms of utmost efforts for the promotion of commercial and industrial relations in IT-BPM.

It also covered best practices exchange on influencing government policies and playing an active role in policy-making that is beneficial to the industry, talent development, and encouraging responsible AI implementation.

Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Consul Enunina Mangio and Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic Vice President Milena Jaburkova signed the third MOU for the promotion of trade and investment between the Philippines and the Czech Republic in terms of utmost efforts for the promotion of commercial and industrial relations in IT-BPM, exchange of trade missions, organizing trade exhibits and fairs, exchange and answer trade and business inquiries, research and education/training.

Marcos also invited Czech companies to invest in the processing of the country’s critical minerals to mitigate the risks of global supply chain disruptions as he recognized the country’s expertise in minerals processing.

Critical minerals including cobalt copper lithium, nickel, and rare earth play a crucial role in the production of clean energy technologies, from wind turbines to electric cars.

Over the past 20 years, annual trade in energy-related critical minerals has increased from $53 billion to $378 billion.

Marcos also called for the revival of the Philippine-European Union (EU) Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations to further enhance the trade relations of the two countries.

“We believe that the resumption of these negotiations will be a big step in furthering our trade relations, with the end view to establish a stable, predictable, and enabling business environment that promotes inclusive and sustainable growth and development,” he said.

Negotiations for the PH-EU trade and investment agreement were launched on December 22, 2015, followed by the second negotiations, which took place in February 2017.

The negotiations, however, have since been put on hold until July 2023 while the EU and the Philippines announced their intention to begin technical discussions to potentially resume negotiations.

Marcos said the Department of Agriculture is not conducting explanatory talks with its Czech counterparts as the Philippines eye to exploring trade in meat products with Czech Republic as he expresses interest in the medicines used by the country to ensure the quality of its meat and livestock products.

He said representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic are expected to visit the Philippines by next week to formalize the agreement.

Czech Republic Prime Minister Petr Fiala visited Manila in April 2023 where he sat in a bilateral meeting with President Marcos and expressed the readiness of his government to support the Philippines in the agriculture sector, among others.

In terms of contributing to the workforce of Czech, Marcos said the two countries agreed to intensify their collaboration.

He said he has ordered the Department of Migrant Workers (DMW) to strengthen its ties with its counterparts in the Czech to protect the rights and ensure the welfare of overseas Filipino workers (OFWs).

A Joint Communique on Labor Consultations Mechanism between the Philippines and the Czech Republic aimed at establishing a system to discuss areas of mutual interests, including the proper procedure for employing Filipino citizens in the Central European country was signed during Marcos’ visit.

The Joint Communique will greatly favor Filipinos already working in the Czech Republic as well as those planning to enter its labor market, Marcos said.

“This is my commitment: to provide our society with a principled, accountable, and dependable governance, to attain a better future for all Filipinos,” the President said.

“Ipinapangako po sa inyo na sisikapin pa natin na lalong pagandahin at palaguin ang ating ekonomiya dahil ito ay karapatan ng bawat Pilipino. At kayo, aking mga kababayan ay nagsisilbing inspirasyon. Kayo ang inspirasyon namin ng mga taga-gobyerno upang ipagpatuloy ang aming ginagawa, ang aming trabaho,” he added.

(I promise you that we will work hard to improve and grow our economy because it is the right of every Filipino. And you, my countrymen, serve as an inspiration. You are the inspiration for us and the government to continue what we are doing.) (TPM)


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