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PH eyes doubling trade, investment with Turkey

/ 04:40 PM February 09, 2018

The Philippines wants to double its trade and investment with Turkey in two to three years following a recently concluded trade mission, given that economic bilateral ties are currently “highly under-tapped,” a top official said.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said that Turkey has committed to strengthen business ties with the Philippines, noting that its business chamber would invest and buy more products from the Southeast Asian country.

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“The President of  the Turkish-Philippine Business Chamber Ilkem Sahin is bullish on exploring all these opportunities in the Philippines, committing to invest and buy more our products.  He has direct mandate from Turkey President Erdogan, being his friend, to strengthen business ties with the Philippines,” he said in a mobile message to reporters.

“We target to double our trade and investment in two to three years. He [Sahin] will immediately lead a business mission to the Philippines on March 19-22,” he said.

According to data from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), merchandise trade with Turkey has only been growing at a compound annual growth rate of 1.98 percent from 2006 to 2016.

In 2016, merchandise trade reached $121.7 million, slightly lower than the $124 million recorded in the year before. This was a trade deficit, wherein the Philippines imported more than what it exported to Turkey.

The numbers have improved in 2017, however. According to a recent DTI statement, merchandise trade between the two countries hit $163 million in the first 11 months of the year. A full year report is not yet available.

Lopez said that bilateral economic ties are “highly under-tapped perhaps due to unfamiliarity and limited interaction between the respective business sectors.”

He added that Turkey traditionally does business with Libya, Iraq, Syria, and Russia, among others. However, since “current issues” have affected their businesses, he said Turkey is now looking at Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in particular.

He said the business mission that would come here next month would explore opportunities and look for locations for shipbuilding, roll-on/roll-off ships, as well as agricultural processing for mango, coconut, banana, coffee, cacao and oil palm.

It would also look for opportunities in terms of textiles manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, power, low cost housing, pre-fabricated construction materials, education, film production, and two-way tourism packages, he added.

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He said that they also indicated providing Islamic interest-free financing for the Marawi rehabilitation program. The city is still recovering from the recent siege of terrorist forces last year.

He added that they would  look at locating some manufacturing activities in the area to immediately provide jobs.

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TAGS: Investment, Philippine news updates, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, Turkey
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