The recent buying mission of South Korea’s largest association of importers to the Philippines attests to the long-standing and strong bilateral relations between the Philippines and South Korea.

“This visit presents another window of opportunity, allowing the Philippines and the Republic of Korea to further cultivate its trade relations and synergies,” Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Ponciano C. Manalo, Jr. said during the networking dinner organized by the DTI for 182-member delegation of the Korea Importers’ Association’s (KOIMA) buying mission.

Aside from the networking dinner, the DTI also organized a trade and investment business forum for the delegation, which is composed of 103 chief executive officers (CEOs) and senior level executives, and 79 KOIMA officials, staff, and spouses of KOIMA delegates. A business matching session was also arranged for them to meet with 189 Filipino businessmen.

KOIMA covers 70 percent of Korea's total imports, which reached US$519 billion in 2012, and composed of more than 8,000 importers, supplying Korea’s end-user principals, manufacturers and processors, distributors and retailers, and the government’s procurement agencies.

“The relationship between Philippines and the Republic of Korea has been significant-- from its noble beginnings of a military alliance with then 2nd lieutenant Fidel Ramos leading the platoon who captured Hill Eerie and now, to the advent of socio-cultural exchanges with the arrival of K-Pop and Koreanovelas into the Philippines,” Manalo said.

“We also share an interesting bit of political history. I remember an anecdote that was shared with me by Ambassador Lee Hyuk when we met last May 9. The late Benigno Aquino, Jr., father of President Aquino, at age 17, was the youngest war correspondent ever to cover the Korean war for a Philippine daily newspaper in 1949,” Manalo added.

“Since opening its diplomatic ties in 1949, the two nations have been on close relationships and keep expanding cooperation in various fields of politic, economy, culture and trade through active exchanges among many government officials led by the Presidents of both nations,” KOIMA Chairman Thomas T.Y. Shinn said during the trade and investment forum.

Manalo noted economic ties of the Philippines with the Republic of Korea are “ever more vibrant under the leadership of President Benigno Aquino III”.

Korea is the 5th biggest investor in the Philippines and among the country’s top trading partners. The trade volume between Korea and the Philippines amounted to US$ 7.4 billion in 2012. Korea is the Philippines’ 6th largest export market and the 5th import source.

The Philippine exports to Korea mainly comprise of electronics and semiconductors. The Philippines supplies 99 percent of the banana import requirements of Korea. Philippine fruits such as banana and pineapple hold a 95 percent market share, valued at US$260 million in Korea.

Korea has also continuously boosted tourism in the Philippines, and led the number of tourist arrivals at 406,595 from January to April this year, a 24.65 percent share of all inbound tourist traffic.

“This puts the Philippines on track in achieving this year’s tourist arrivals target of 5.5 million,” Manalo said.

Manalo also encouraged the Korean delegation not only to look at the Philippines as a trade partner and a tourist destination but also as a potential investment location to grow your business in.

“With continuous improvements in our economy backed by multiple, strong credit rating, the Philippines is ready more than ever for business and open to accommodate Korean businesses,” Manalo said.

“More importantly, with the positive outlook given by a Korean credit rating agency Nice Investors Services Ltd., we are confident that more Korean investors would strongly consider the Philippines as their future investment destination,” Manalo added.

He also encouraged the Korean businessmen to make the Philippines their second home and spend their retirement here as a permanent resident by availing of the Special Resident Retiree’s Visa (SRRV). (END)

Source: DTI Public Relations Office