Canada, PH explore trade opportunities
THE PHILIPPINES has been identified by Canada as one of its “priority countries” for assistance, where the North American economy hopes to enhance trade ties and investments.
To harness this assistance, Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo said they would look at potential partnerships that could be tapped during the state visit of President Aquino to Canada this May.
While the state visit will be political in nature, Domingo said, trade officials will also look at opportunities across various industries, such as mining, forestry, agriculture and fisheries, as well as aircraft, aerospace and automotive.
“Canada has just decided which cities they will support so we’ll have to figure out first what we can harness … But we are looking at these industries, and we’re still investigating other areas we can go after. But again, our trip to Canada in May is primarily a state visit, so talks will be political in nature,” Domingo said.
The trade chief further noted that such initiatives would help the Philippines increase its bilateral trade with Canada, which stood at $1.7 billion in 2013.
“Our trade with Canada is still small considering the size of their country, which means trade could be bigger,” Domingo added.
Last month, Canadian Minister of International Trade Ed Fast met with Domingo in Manila to discuss the bilateral trade and investment relations between the two countries.
Fast’s mission followed the visit of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper to the Philippines in November 2012, and his meeting with President Aquino on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation in November 2014.
In a joint statement, Domingo and Fast said they discussed ways to build on the two countries’ current commercial relationship, which is already supported by agreements on double taxation, investment promotion and protection, and air transportation.
“We are committed to exploring ways to deepen and modernize our trade, investments and collaboration partnerships in areas of common interest, such as agri-food, transport, energy, infrastructure, education, defense and security. We also made a commitment to resolve a number of market access issues in a timely fashion,” the two ministers said.
“To increase business opportunities in each other’s market, we committed to leading trade missions—starting with Fast’s return mission to the Philippines in May with a Canadian business delegation, and a potential visit to Canada by Domingo accompanied by a number of Philippine company representatives,” they added.
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