With the recent visit of a 15-member business delegation from the Republic of Korea to the Philippines, both countries gear up to develop business synergy and fortify long-standing trade relations.

USEC

“The Philippines is more than ever open and ready to accommodate Korean businesses. I encourage our Korean friends to consider the country not only as trade partner but also as a potential investment destination,” Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado said during the recent seminar on investment opportunities organized by the Board of Investments (BOI) for the delegation.

The delegation, led by ASEAN-Korea Centre (AKC) Secretary General Hae Moon Chung, sent an investment and market research mission to the Philippines. It is composed of AKC officials, industry associations, and companies engaged in electronics, agri-business, and construction industries. The mission was coordinated through the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Seoul, Korea.

The ASEAN-Korea Centre is an intergovernmental organization consisting of ten ASEAN Member States and Korea. It is mandated to increase trade volume, accelerate investment flows, invigorate tourism, and enrich cultural exchanges between ASEAN Member States and Korea with emphasis on the promotion of mutual understanding through people-to-people exchanges.

“The Philippines will continue to be at forefront of the enviable economic performance of ASEAN as a whole,” Chung said. He cited that in 2013, ASEAN emerged as the second largest investment destination and second largest trading partner of Korea with a trade volume of US$135 billion, a 3 percent increase compared to US$131 billion a year earlier. Foreign direct investments (FDI) from Korea to ASEAN amounted to US$1.7 billion in 2012 and US$3.5 billion in 2013. Chung noted that the ASEAN and Korea are undertaking joint consultations for the modernization and improvement the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement by year 2015. The completion of this consultation will have an effect on strengthening and reinforcing the economic cooperation between ASEAN and Korea. Chung added that ASEAN and Korea are on the way to achieve the US$150 billion bilateral trade volume by 2015, and US$200 billion by year 2020. Aside from the investment opportunities seminar and business meetings, the delegation also visited three Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) and toured selected Korean locators. These IPAs include the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), and Clark Development Corporation (CDC). Korean Embassy to the Philippines Ambassador Hyuk Lee noted that these special economic zones are home to hundreds of Korean companies. He added that they have set up shops like many other Korean individuals who have found success in the Philippines by riding on the popularity of Korean progress. “This is a clear indication that investment climate in this country (Philippines) is really excellent. Indeed, now is an opportune moment for Koreans to invest in the Philippines,” Lee said. Last year, committed Korean investments as approved by IPAs amounted to US$200 million, ranking South Korea as the Philippines’ 6th source of IPA-approved foreign investments, according to BOI data. On the trade side, South Korea ranked as the Philippines’ 5th major trading partner, 6th export market and 5th import supplier, Philippine exports to South Korea went up by 17.96 percent from US$2.88 billion in 2012 to US$3.4 billion in 2013, while Philippine imports from South Korea increased by 6.5 percent from US$4.53 billion in 2012 to US$4.82 billion in 2013, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) as cited and processed by the Export Marketing Bureau (EMB). (END)