11 March 2024 (Monday), 11-11:05 AM | Malacañang Palace

Good morning, Your Excellency, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. We are honored by your presence on this significant occasion.

Today marks the realization of a commitment made by U.S. President Joseph Biden Jr. during our official visit to Washington D.C. last May 2023. This high-level presidential delegation from the United States signifies the strong ties between our two countries and the fervent hope to further enhance investment and trade relations.

We are honored to have with us today: Secretary Gina M. Raimondo of the U.S. Department of Commerce; Ambassador MaryKay L. Carlson of the U.S. Embassy Manila; Mr. Luis Jimenez, Chief of Staff of the Department of Commerce; Mr. Edward (Ted) Dean, Counselor of the Department of Commerce; Ms. Pamela Phan, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asia of the Department of Commerce; Admiral John C. Aquilino, Commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command; Mr. Phillip B. Nervig, Economic Counselor of the U.S. Embassy Manila; and Mr. Paul Taylor, Senior Commercial Officer of the U.S. Embassy Manila.

Today’s discussions have been productive and action-oriented.

We enumerated the investment opportunities for U.S. companies in the country—in infrastructure development, telecommunications, semiconductor and electronics manufacturing, as well as in renewable energy and critical elements. We listed down the advantages of investing in the Philippines. We invited them to open their own business here.

Expectedly, participants from the government and business community, from both the U.S. and P.H. sides, are eager to work toward robust economic and commercial outcomes.

We also discussed the implementation of strategic initiatives. Therefore, we anticipate a notable surge in trade between our two countries and an increase in foreign direct investments from the U.S.

Candidly, we raised some issues regarding Philippine exports of shrimp paste and apparel detained at the U.S. Customs and Border Protection. We have communicated the actions we have taken, and we hope for the early resolution of these detained shipments from the Philippines.

In response, the U.S. delegation has committed to aid in the case of the L&T International Group Philippines; which involves the U.S. Customs’ detention of USD

3.8 million worth of apparel shipments.

In addition, we discussed diplomatic remedies and regulatory initiatives for the predicament faced by Century Pacific Food Inc. The company’s five containers of shrimp paste are currently held in Long Beach, California.

Furthermore, we sought assistance for the Trade Agreements Act challenges confronting Philippine electronics firms participating in U.S. government contract bids. We remain hopeful that the delegates will actively address and find a resolution to this matter.

Mr. President, I am positive that this regular open communication of opportunities and obstacles will strengthen our relationship as long-standing and dependable allies.

We agree that strategic investments align with the broader interests of both the Philippines and the United States. As we emphasized earlier, a flourishing Philippines contributes to regional stability, economic growth, and heightened security—goals that are aligned with the U.S. Indo-Pacific vision.

In short, 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. Together, let’s make all these happen in the Philippines.

Now, I invite Secretary Raimondo to share her remarks. Thank you. ♦

Date of release: 11 March 2024