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“We discussed assistance for the Philippines in manufacturing development including electric vehicle development,” Lopez reported.

Korea automotive giant Hyundai Motor is one of the major car traders in the country. Recently, it has been subject to speculation of a possible entry into the government’s Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS), which seeks to revive the country’s motor vehicle industry.

According to Lopez, the investment forum gathered participants mainly came from the manufacturing industry in Korea, with special focus on auto parts and electronics.

“They are considering expanding operations in the Philippines, beyond banking given strong growth of the Philippine economy and consumer sector,” said Lopez.

On agriculture, Lopez said he discussed with his counterpart better cooperation in market access for Philippine agriculture products such as duck meat, fruits like mangoes and bananas, and vegetables like okra.

Lopez cited of a heightened interest by Korean companies as he noted that the conference, which originally targeted to accommodate only 80 participants swelled to 200.

“The attendance was oversubscribed from the original target of 80 people to 200. They are interested in agribusiness and food processing,” he said.

Both trade secretaries also discussed various trade negotiations like ASEAN, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and the changed prospects of the Trans Pacific Partnership.□

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