RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA –In a significant move towards deepening their economic cooperation, the Philippines and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia recently came together at a pivotal Roundtable Meeting. The event, jointly organized by the Department of Trade and Industry, through its Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Dubai, and the Saudi Ministry of Investments (MISA), unfolded on the sidelines of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) – Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit. 

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. led the meeting, with the participation of Saudi economic ministers and influential Saudi business leaders from diverse sectors, including banking, finance, manufacturing, logistics, energy, petrochemicals, agriculture, and healthcare. 

In his opening remarks, Trade and Industry Secretary Fred Pascual provided an overview of the Philippine economy. He emphasized the government’s commitment to creating a conducive environment for foreign investments. 

He also highlighted the factors making the country attractive to foreign investors. “Nestled in the vibrant heart of Southeast Asia, the Philippines is blessed with abundant natural resources and a young and dynamic workforce. We have a large domestic market, given a population of 117 million. 

He added, “The Philippines is at the turning point of a transformative journey. As we champion economic inclusivity and propel ourselves forward, we are molding the Philippines into the prime investment destination.” 

President Marcos, in his keynote address, encouraged the Saudi business community to explore investment opportunities beyond traditional manpower services, emphasizing that collaboration between the government and the private sector is integral to achieving mutual growth and a brighter future for both nations. 

Minister Khalid Al-Falih of the Saudi Ministry of Investment (MISA) acknowledged the significant investment potential in renewable energy, agriculture, and the Maharlika Investment Fund. He urged Saudi firms to engage with the Philippines and seize these opportunities. Minister Al-Falih also praised the Philippines’ strong economic growth prospects under President Marcos, attributing this success to the renowned work ethic, English proficiency, tech-savviness, and service-oriented nature of Filipino talent. 

In his closing, Secretary Pascual stressed, “The Philippines is open for business, and I invite you to partner with us. Together, let us make it happen in the Philippines.” ♦

Date of release: 20 October 2023