DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez with South Korean Trade Minister Kim Jyun Chong.

More collaborative initiatives are expected from the Philippines (PH) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) as discussion on trade and investments progresses, with focus on strengthening bilateral cooperation on agriculture and manufacturing industries.

In the recent bilateral meeting between Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez and Minister for Trade, Industry and Energy Kim Jyun Chong on 8 September 2017 at the sidelines of the Philippine hosting of the 49th ASEAN Economic Ministers’ (AEM) Meeting and Related Meetings in Pasay City, both sides considered expanding cooperation on tropical fruits and meat products.

With the current initiatives to improve commitments under the ASEAN-Korea Trade in Goods Agreement, ROK Trade Minister Kim indicated openness to look into PH request for improved access for Philippine bananas, mangoes, and pineapples to the Korean market. Both sides also agreed to tap respective agriculture officials to expedite the ongoing accreditation process for other Philippine agricultural products namely, durian, mangosteen, avocado, and okra. Meanwhile, Sec. Lopez favorably considered market access for Korean strawberries and heat-treated pork and chicken products. 

In promoting inclusive growth and strengthening the PH’s micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), PH and ROK initiated a feasibility study involving the Philippine Mold and Die Center. Such collaboration highlighted the potential of the mold and die industry, which is considered as the mother of manufacturing industry and a priority sector of PH development. PH expressed confidence that the implementation of said project would support the government in providing better access to expensive mold and die machineries for entrepreneurs.

ROK also expressed its support for the PH’s electric vehicle industry and its benefits to industrial development. In line with this, PH committed to provide usual incentives and highly encouraged Korean electric vehicle manufacturers to invest in the country and ride on the PH’s growth story.

ROK also expressed its hope for the conclusion of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) involving ASEAN and its key trade partners.

In the course of discussion with his Korean counterpart, Sec. Lopez mentioned PH’s intention to further liberalize the Foreign Investment Negative List (FINL) with utmost attention on foreign equity requirements and terms on public utilities.