DTI Secretary Fred Pascual and United States Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo during the meeting with the US Presidential Trade and Investment Mission (PTIM) delegation

MANILA–Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual welcomed United States Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and the US Presidential Trade and Investment Mission (PTIM) delegation at the Malacañan Palace on 11 March. This high-level US delegation visit is expected to yield concrete action plans that will enhance the economic partnership between the Philippines and the US.

Following President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s meeting with US President Joe Biden in May 2023, the PTIM aimed to attract US investment in key Philippine sectors like innovation, renewable energy, critical minerals, and food security.

“We are confident that this day’s discussions will result in actionable measures. This mission serves as a platform to align our efforts and capitalize on both our nations’ economic successes. Further, this mission transcends traditional diplomatic missions to propel us toward stronger economic ties and shared prosperity,” said Secretary Pascual.

During the meeting with the PTIM delegation, Secretary Pascual underscored the Philippines’ potential to be a key player in the critical metals sector with the country’s significant nickel, copper, and cobalt reserves. Leveraging these rich mineral reserves, the Philippines aspires to lead the global value chain for energy storage and electric vehicle (EV) production. Additionally, recent amendments permit 100% foreign ownership of renewable energy sources to create an attractive investment climate.

Moreover, Secretary Pascual invited investments in lab-scale wafer fab facilities as he highlighted the country’s skilled workforce and existing foundation in software development as an advantage for US companies.  He also called for swift implementation of US government support in workforce development as part of the CHIPS Act to facilitate plans to expand its role in the semiconductor industry beyond assembly and packaging.

The Philippine government also sought assistance from the US Department of Commerce on trade issues like detained apparel exports and shrimp paste shipments. Additionally, the Philippines took the opportunity to raise the current situation of Philippine electronics companies unable to bid on US government contracts due to a requirement in the US Trade Agreements Act.

“I am positive that this regular open communication of opportunities and obstacles will strengthen our relationship as long-standing and dependable allies,” said Secretary Pascual as he emphasized the significance of the PTIM in advancing the economic ties between the two countries.

In photo: DTI Secretary Fred Pascual and United States Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo

“An economically strong Philippines also makes a strong dependable regional partner. This collaborative approach ensures mutual benefits—encompassing increased trade opportunities, improved diplomatic ties, and shared defense interests,” the Philippine trade chief added.

Meanwhile, President Marcos Jr. reaffirmed the Philippines’ strong economic position and the government’s efforts to establish a conducive business environment during the courtesy call of the PTIM delegation. The President also reiterated the Philippines’ commitment to supporting American businesses and amplified the invitation for continued collaboration with the US in achieving shared economic prosperity.

The United States continues to hold a significant position as the Philippines’ third-largest trading partner globally, with total trade values reaching approximately USD 20 billion. Notably, the U.S. is the largest export market for Philippine goods, valued at USD 12 billion, and the fifth-largest import market, amounting to almost USD 8.5 billion.

Furthermore, the United States has consistently ranked among the top five sources of foreign direct investments (FDIs) in the Philippines in the past five years. Based on the latest figures from January to November 2023, the United States emerges as the fourth-largest FDI source for the Philippines, with a total value exceeding USD 110 million. ♦

Date of release: 11 March 2024