MANILA — Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano, during an official trip in Hong Kong, urged the special administrative region to open an economic and trade office in Manila.
The DFA said Cayetano offered to assist investors from Hong Kong in exploring opportunities in the Philippines.
In a statement, the DFA said Cayetano echoed that tourism is “an area for growth” Hong Kong investors should seriously take a look at and consider.
“We are optimistic about the future of Philippine-Hong Kong relations and we look forward to taking giant steps in various areas of cooperation,” Cayetano was quoted as saying.
“We talked about opportunities to further strengthen cooperation in the areas of trade and investments, labor, tourism, and people-to-people exchanges, especially with the signing of the ASEAN-Hong Kong Free Trade Agreement (AHKFTA),” he said.
The Philippines wants to attract more trade and investment from Hong Kong as it moves to further strengthen economic relations with the special administrative region.
The DFA said economic cooperation was on top of the agenda during the meeting between Cayetano and Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-Ngor of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on Friday.
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Hong Kong on Nov. 12 signed the AHKFTA and the ASEAN – Hong Kong, China Investment Agreement (AHKIA) following a three-year negotiation at the sidelines of the 31st ASEAN Summit.
AHKFTA covers market access liberalization, trade facilitation, rules to promote confidence in trade, and cooperation.
AHKIA, on the other hand, complements the AHKFTA by covering the protection, promotion and facilitation of investment. Cayetano was accompanied by incoming Consul General Antonio Morales, DFA Undersecretary for International Economic Relations Manuel Teehankee, Presidential Adviser on Investments lawyer Antonio Cablitas and other DFA officials.
Meanwhile, joining the call from the Hong Kong side were Secretary of Commerce and Economic Development Edward Yau Tang-Wah and Acting Secretary for Labor and Welfare Casper Tsui.
‘INVEST IN THE PHILIPPINES’
In separate conferences with Filipinos in Hong Kong and Macau, Cayetano also said the close to 219,000 Filipinos working in Hong Kong and the 30,000 in Macau “continue to help fuel” the economy’s growth with their remittances.
Citing the 6.9 percent growth of the economy for the third quarter of 2017, he also urged more Filipinos working abroad to take advantage of the economic boom and start investing their savings in the Philippines.