MANILA – Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) and the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PHILEXPORT) president Sergio Ortiz-Luis hopes that the visit of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to Indonesia and Singapore will strengthen the country’s economic ties with the two Southeast Asian countries.
During the Laging Handa public briefing Monday, Ortiz-Luis said he wishes that the agreements related to trade and investments that will be signed during the Chief Executive’s visit in the two nations will bring more investments from Indonesia and Singapore to the Philippines, and will also help more Philippine products to enter these two markets.
He said boosting ties with Indonesia and Singapore is vital for the country, the former being the largest market in Southeast Asia and the latter having the highest gross domestic product per capita in the region.
“Well, definitely anything that will improve investments at saka (and) involvement of trade will help… At iyang dalawang bayan na iyan ang malakas dito sa Asean, as a matter of fact, in the Asean-5. So, importante na kung mayroon pang mga problemang nakikita roon sa investment na papunta sa atin at sa mga trade dapat ay ma-cover sana noong agreement (And these two countries are the strongest here in Asean, as a matter of fact, in the Asean-5. So it’s important that if we are seeing some challenges in inbound investments and trade, the agreement should cover these),” he said.
Ortiz-Luis added that should the government enter into an agreement with other countries, it is best that the private sector be consulted on the content of the deal to ensure that the agreement addresses the real challenges experienced by businesses.
“In the past, madalas nangyayari na pipirma tapos it doesn’t work dahil hindi naman pala naikonsulta (it often happens that they will sign but it doesn’t work because it was not consulted); and I hope they went through the process,” he said.
In his pre-departure speech Sunday, Marcos said his state visit to Indonesia and Singapore this week aims to further explore the potential to improve the Philippines’ trade and investment relations with the two Asean countries.
Data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed that from January to June 2022, Philippine two-way trade with Indonesia amounted to USD6.12 billion while bilateral trade with Singapore reached USD6.74 billion. (PNA)