Canada promotes trade and development in the Philippines

By on May 9, 2015


FIlipino-Canadians take a selfie with PNoy outside Rideau Hall (Photo by Benhur Arcayan / Malacañang Photo Bureau)
FIlipino-Canadians take a selfie with PNoy outside Rideau Hall (Photo by Benhur Arcayan / Malacañang Photo Bureau)

The Philippines is one of Canada’s key partners in the Asia-Pacific region. Our Government is committed to promoting two-way trade and investment between Canada and the Philippines with a view to benefitting the citizens of both countries.

We are also committed to supporting efforts by the Philippines to stimulate sustainable economic growth by improving the climate for investment and reducing poverty, as well as assisting in the country’s recovery after Typhoon Haiyan (locally known as Yolanda). In 2014 the Philippines was confirmed as a country of focus for Canada’s international development efforts.

To help achieve these objectives, on May 8, 2015, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced the following initiatives:

Trade

Canada and the Philippines announced the launch of exploratory discussions for a free trade agreement (FTA). A Canada-Philippines FTA would strengthen economic ties and give Canadian businesses access to one of the most dynamic and growing marketplaces in Asia. It would also provide a gateway to the dynamic and high-growth Association of Southeast Asian Nations region for Canadian exporters.

Canada and the Philippines also announced the launch of discussions towards upgrading the existing 1996 Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPA).‎ A modernized FIPA would give Canadian and Filipino investors greater confidence when doing business.

Canada also granted the Philippines access to the Canadian Trade and Development Facility, which helps developing countries negotiate, implement and benefit from trade and investment agreements with Canada and other countries.

Development

Canada and the Philippines announced the signing of a five-year (to May 2020) mutual accountability framework which reaffirms the foundations of transparent, effective and sustainable cooperation between the two countries in the area of development assistance. It confirms that Canadian development assistance is linked to Canadian priorities and values, including respect for democracy, the rule of law, human rights, and sustainable economic growth, consistent with the principles of aid transparency and effectiveness.

The framework reaffirms Canada’s respect and support for the Philippines’ leadership of its own development process and reflects the mature and growing relationship between the two countries. The framework also clearly states Canada’s priorities and the expected results of its development assistance program in the country. The monitoring and evaluation of expected results and agreed targets will be carried out over the five year life of the framework through an annual joint review process.

Occupational Health and Safety Memorandum of Understanding

The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety and the Philippines’ Department of Labor and Employment signed a memorandum of understanding in order to expand collaboration in the area of occupational health and safety in order to create safer workplaces in the Philippines.

Canada and the Philippines will cooperate on many fronts in the hopes of raising awareness and understanding of the importance of occupational health and safety in Filipino workplaces, as well as the role of governments, employers and workers. This cooperation will also lead to the improvement of existing occupational health and safety policies and reporting mechanisms, as well as to the creation of training courses and tools on best practices in the workplace to avoid illness and injury.

Support for displaced and conflict-affected people in the Philippines

The condition of people living in the conflict-affected areas of Mindanao Island in the Philippines remains difficult, where numerous people remain displaced in Zamboanga City as well as other parts of Mindanao.

As part of ongoing support to help displaced populations in the region, the Government of Canada is providing humanitarian assistance funding to respond to challenges faced by populations displaced by conflict-affected areas in Zamboanga City and parts of Mindanao. The funds have been allocated to support the work of experienced partners in meeting priority humanitarian needs, including work to improve the nutritional and emergency food status of displaced populations, improvements to emergency shelters, emergency preparedness efforts, protection services, and support to help restart lost livelihoods.

Cost and timeframe: $1.5 million (2015)

Implementing partners: International Committee of the Red Cross ($750,000); International

Organization for Migration ($250,000); and Action Against Hunger ($500,000).

Further Support for Typhoon Haiyan Reconstruction

To date, the Government of Canada has committed $90.6 million in financial support toward the crisis caused by Typhoon Haiyan. This amount includes over $85 million the Government of Canada matched through the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund launched in November 2013, based on eligible funding donated by individual Canadians to registered charities.

Of the $90.6 million commitment, $70 million has already been disbursed to meet urgent needs in a range of sectors, including food, water, sanitation, shelter, medical and livelihood opportunities. The remaining $20.6 million is being used to fund the following four projects through the Typhoon Haiyan Reconstruction Assistance Call for Proposals:

Rebuilding through Micro-insurance and Women’s Microenterprises (2015-2019)
Implementing partner: Canadian Cooperative Association

The project will support the long-term economic recovery for 2,000 micro-entrepreneurs and their families, and help them better prepare for the potential of future disasters. This will be achieved by helping to re-establish and improve small community convenience stores (sari-sari stores) badly damaged by the typhoon which are an important source of income for women, and help ensure the flow of household goods. Efforts will also focus on introducing new micro-insurance products in the Philippines.

Sustainable Economic Growth for Women and Men Affected by Typhoon Haiyan in Leyte and Samar (2015-2019)
Implementing partner: Centre for International Studies and Cooperation

The project will support the sustainable long-term economic recovery of 7,000 families affected by Typhoon Haiyan. Activities will include building capacity for climate-smart and resilient agriculture and fisheries production techniques, and for disaster risk reduction planning by communities and government officials. In addition, the new support will help strengthen the financial and business management skills of women operating micro- to medium-sized businesses.

Typhoon Haiyan Reconstruction Assistance (2015-2019)
Implementing partner: CARE Canada
The initiative will help support the long-term economic well-being of typhoon-affected women and men by providing training and technical support to 86,000 people and 4,000 entrepreneur households or cooperatives. Work will be focused on helping beneficiaries find new ways of earning and generating income; supporting communities in efforts to improve the production, storage, processing, packaging and marketing of goods and services; and strengthening the capacity of private businesses and local government agencies to deliver technical advice and financial services.

Restoring, Empowering and Protecting (REAP) Livelihoods Post Haiyan (2015-2019)
Implementing partner: Adventist Development and Relief Agency World Renew Consortium

This project will support the sustainable long-term economic recovery of men and women that depend on agriculture and fishing for their livelihoods. Canada’s support for the project will help beneficiaries by: providing materials and training to restore tools and equipment lost in the typhoon; securing new ways of earning income that are less dependent on farming and fishing; and working with microfinance institutions and social enterprises to improve access to markets, financing and other business development services.

Canada’s Initial Response to Typhoon Haiyan

Canada was one of the first countries to respond to the Typhoon Haiyan crisis, and was the third largest humanitarian donor. Within 24 hours of the typhoon, the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) provided $5 million to humanitarian organizations for emergency relief activities.

On November 10, 2013, the Government of Canada established the Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund, through which every eligible dollar donated by individual Canadians to registered Canadian charities responding to the impact of the typhoon would be matched by the Government of Canada. On April 3, 2014, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that individual Canadians contributed over $85 million in eligible donations.

The Government of Canada also deployed:

four planeloads of emergency relief items sourced from the DFATD-emergency stockpile;
a Red Cross medical team and field hospital to provide emergency health support;
elements of the Canadian Armed Forces’ Disaster Assistance Response Team to support relief efforts in the region by providing clean water, medical assistance and logistical support;
eight Canadian humanitarian experts to support Red Cross and United Nations humanitarian agencies responding to the typhoon;
four Canadian disease specialists (epidemiologists) from the Public Health Agency of Canada. The team assisted the Philippines’ Department of Health to identify and make recommendations on how to mitigate public health risks; and,
two Royal Canadian Mounted Police officers to assist in the development of an Interpol disaster victim identification plan.