MANILA – Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said on Friday that the Philippines is pursuing stronger economic relation with other countries.
In a media briefing, Lopez said political issues here were never mentioned during his meetings with counterparts from other countries but only the prospects of promoting and enhancing trade and investment ties.
“We are moving forward commercial ties and strengthening it,” he said citing countries such as the United States, China, and the bloc of European Union (EU).
Despite the recent comments of President Rodrigo R. Duterte to US and EU, Lopez pointed out that the Philippines continues its economic cooperation with the two giant economies.
The trade chief mentioned his meeting with the United States Trade Representative during the ASEAN Summit in Laos where the two countries agreed on boosting trade by helping micro, small, and medium enterprises.
“[There is] so much excitement in pursuing and enhancing our trade,” said Lopez.
He also noted that the Philippines and the EU are discussing for further talks for a free trade agreement.
“And there are more foreign embassies establishing offices or posts here. Likewise, we are expanding further our commercial attaché,” the official added.
“I say, we are receiving a lot of investment missions, foreign chambers visiting our office, from other countries, exploring investments here and some are planning for expansions,” he further said.
Lopez stressed that the Philippines remains an attractive investment destination with its economic fundamentals such as gross domestic product growth, low inflation rate, strong foreign reserves supported by the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry and overseas Filipinos’ remittances, declining unemployment rate, better purchasing power, as well as high business and consumer confidence.
“These are all attractive to investors,” he said.
He added that the investment promotion agencies under the Department of Trade and Industry – Board of Investments (BOI) and Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) – have been receiving prospective investors and expansion plans from companies.
“Hopefully, those projects will be registered this second half or first half of next year,” Lopez said.