DTI seeks to gain from fortified PH-US economic ties


With recent state visit of United States (US) President Barack Obama to Manila and forthcoming visit of US Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) expects to develop new long-term commercial partnerships and commitments to help boost the Philippine economy.


“The Obama Administration’s recent swing of US economic prospects towards the Asia Pacific Region is foreseen to strengthen existing commercial ties and foster new ones,” DTI Undersecretary Ponciano C. Manalo, Jr. said.


In line with the second annual CEO-level business mission to the ASEAN, Pritzker will visit the Philippines this June.


Early this year, top American executives in Asia Pacific also convened during the recent 2014 Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce (APCAC) Spring Summit in the Philippines to discuss investment matters and explore opportunities drawn by the country’s strong economic growth.


Manalo noted that this is the first time that the Philippines played host to this network of American Chambers of Commerce in the region.


“With these recent developments in 2014, we expect to gather renewed support from the US as we develop our local industries, attract more investments, and expand our global market for goods and services,” Manalo said.


Manalo said that this June, the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C. and the Philippine Trade and Investment Centers in the US will embark on a series and trade and investment promotion efforts in three US cities, namely Huston, Atlanta and Philadelphia from May 25 to 28, 2014.


As a follow through in June, DTI officials led by DTI Secretary Gregory L. Domingo and Undersecretary Manalo are scheduled to meet with major US companies to promote Philippine priority sectors such as manufacturing, IT-BPM, particularly in health information services and other higher value services and creative services, as well as the country’s products for export to the US.


In October last year, the DTI’s Trade and Investment Promotions Group ran the Philippine delegation’s roadshow in the US to promote the country’s Health Information Management (HIM) and business process management (BPM) capabilities. The HIM is the management of healthcare data for utilization in hospitals, doctors’ offices, clinics, insurance companies and organizations that provide health-related services.


“This industry is considered as one of the key drivers and fastest growing sector in the country’s Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM),” Manalo said.


Manalo also said with the improved ties between the Philippines and the US, the DTI anticipates not just new investment leads from healthcare industry and IT-BPM but also create business opportunities in the country’s priority sectors for promotion to the US.


Manalo also noted that we received various business delegations from US last year and early this year. Last year, the Philippines received 27 inbound business missions from the US. For the first quarter of this year, the country already received 11 missions.


Last year, the sectors of interest were mostly on IT-BPM. The other sectors were energy, solar farm, manufacturing, industrial waste recycling, pharmaceuticals, financial and equities market, physical fitness gear, consultancy firm, trading, electronics and public-private-partnership (PPP).


For the first quarter of 2014, the preferred industry of investors is manufacturing, followed by BPM, IT, energy and trade.  Other sectors such as garments and aerospace were clumped under manufacturing.


“As we open more areas of commercial cooperation between the Philippines and the US, we expect to continuously expand not only trade and investment between the Philippines and US but also between the Philippines and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN),” Manalo said.


In 2013, US was Philippines’ third major trading partner, second biggest export market, and second import supplier.  In the same year, Investment Promotion Agencies (IPA) approved investments from the US stood at US$1.3 billion. (END)