$875-M deals signed in Russia
Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said that $875 million worth of private sector deals were made during the Philippine delegation’s visit to Russia, following the government’s move to seek closer ties with new allies such as Moscow.
Lopez said in a phone message to reporters Thursday night that business-to-business agreements were made between Russian and Philippine companies covering various industries and sectors.
“A number would be in the areas of iron and steel, transport, agribusiness, multipurpose vehicles, power, energy, property development, transport and construction,” he said.
Prior to flying to Russia, Lopez said that 300 investors were coming with President Duterte in his visit to the non-traditional ally. As of press time, he has not responded to a request for a breakdown of which particular firms accounted for the private sector deal.
It also was not yet clear if these deals were mere memorandum of understanding, similar to the $15 billion in pledges that Mr. Duterte brought home from China in October last year when he made his first state visit to the world’s second-largest economy.
Deals were made on both public and private sector fronts as the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) also signed agreements with its counterpart in Russia.
Lopez said that he signed two memorandums of understanding—one on trade and investment promotion and another on industry cooperation. He said that both parties would work on improving industry development and two-way trade.
In total, the Philippine government signed 10 deals with Russia covering defense cooperation and intelligence sharing, agriculture, trade, tourism, culture, transportation and the peaceful use of nuclear energy.
He added that there were also economic, scientific and technical cooperation among private and government institutions like the DTI- Philippine International Trading Corp. (PITC), the Board of Investments (BOI) and industry associations like the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI).
President Duterte was scheduled to make an official visit to Moscow and St. Petersburg from May 23 to 26. However, the trip was cut short when terrorists linked to the Islamic State (IS) attacked Marawi City, an ongoing crisis which pushed the firebrand leader to declare Mindanao under martial law late Tuesday night.
Lopez said that he and newly appointed Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano were tasked to stay for the bilateral agreements in a bid to “to deliver the message that business will continue and isolated lawless violence like the one that happened in Marawi shall be quickly suppressed.”
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