DOLE chief sees more trade, more employment for Filipinos after APEC

MANILA, Nov. 30 -- Vibrant trade relations, initially among nine Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies, but expanding eventually to all its members, are expected to create employment opportunities for more Filipinos following the successful 2015 APEC Leaders’ Meeting which the Philippines hosted last week.

Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz made this confident observation on Thursday in the wake of several bilateral meetings of President Benigno S. Aquino III as the Philippines’ leader-host of the APEC.

“The bilateral meetings of the Philippines with Australia, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Papua New Guinea, Russia, and the United States of America, resulted to identification of potential investment areas and employment opportunities, as well as continued stronger trade relations, as well as export opportunities for Philippine products and services with these APEC member-economies,” Secretary Baldoz said in a news release.

Staring off with Australia, Baldoz said potential Australian investments will be in processed food and agribusiness, IT-BPM, engineering services, infrastructure and other private-public partnership projects, auto parts exports, and manufacturing.

“We see the Philippines exhibiting healthy export trade relations with Australia for its paper and paperboard products, semi-manufactured forms of gold, lead acid for starting piston engines, heat exchange units, and static converters (e.g., rectifiers),” she said, noting that the Philippines has inked a Memorandum of Understanding with Australia covering exchange of information on Technical Vocational Education and Training systems, joint implementation of collaborative projects, and facilitation of links between governments, industry organizations, and TVET bodies.

With Japan, the labor and employment chief said the bilateral meeting of President Aquino III with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe could pave the way for more Japanese investments in the country’s copper mining industry and manufacturing sector, specifically for auto parts, printer, and printing parts, and medical devices, as well as investments in the services sector, particularly on IT-BPM and gaming development.

For its part, the Philippines’ export products to Japan of photosensitive semiconductor devices, including photovoltaic cells, ignition wiring sets, and other wiring devices used in vehicles, aircraft,ships, and other vessels for the transport of goods and persons could increase. Increased exports of copper ores and concentrates, wood joinery, and carpentry could also grow.

Moreover, the PH-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (JPEPA) is expected to improve market access for Philippines meat, bananas, pineapples, tuna, and raw cane sugar to the Japanese market, and relax entry requirements and improvements in the training and working conditions of Filipino health workers in Japan. The agreement also explores the possibility of expanding the PJEPA government-to-government framework for the deployment of other Filipino professionals to Japan.

With Korea, the established trade agreement covers investment opportunities for shipbuilding, automotive manufacturing, electronics manufacturing (printers, integrated circuits, LED modules), agribusiness (food production and processing), renewable energy, banking and finance, tourism (hotel, retirement village, infrastructure and PPP, including the other labor-intensive industries migrating out of China, such as shoes, jewellery, and garments.

On the other hand, Philippine exports to Korea are crude petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, digital monolithic integrated circuits, copper ores and concentrates, bananas, and tobacco.

The Philippines had also established trade agreements with Mexico in the areas of infrastructure and energy, manufacturing of electronics, food/agribusiness, pharmaceutical and medicine, aerospace, fabricated metal products, and consumer products, paving the way for more Mexican businesses to operate in the Philippines in addition to those who are already in support maintenance and sourcing services, building materials, interactive museum and learning centers.

At present, the country exports ignition wiring sets and other wiring devices for vehicles, aircraft, or ships; digital monolithic integrated circuits, and other parts and accessories of motor vehicles, such as unassembled fuel tanks and engine brackets; and printed circuits and gear boxes to Mexico.

In tourism, the Philippines signed with Mexico a Memorandum of Understanding on Tourism Cooperation seeking to develop tourism sector activities, particularly in the areas of research and development, education and training, promotion, and tourism investments.

New Zealand’s potential investments which could create more employment opportunities are in processed food and agribusiness, IT-BPM services, engineering services, infrastructure and other public-private partnership projects, auto parts exports/ and manufacturing. The identified Philippine exports to New Zealand are banana, salmon, sacks and bags, other instruments and apparatus for telecommunications, and lead acid for starting piston engines.

Another South American country with which the Philippines could develop increased trade is Peru, which has identified investment opportunities in the country’s infrastructure, energy, manufacturing of electronics, food/agribusiness, pharmaceutical and medicine, aerospace, fabricated metal products, and consumer products. Presently, Philippine exports to Peru are computer accessories, clothing, milling equipment, carrageenan, seaweeds and other algae products, and electrical apparatus and parts for line telephony or line telegraphy.

With Papua New Guinea, the Philippines welcomes PNG investments in infrastructure/PPP, IT-BPM, shipbuilding, energy, and agribusiness, as well as potential investment and trade in the areas of cannery, consulting, engineering, building and construction, services sector, retail, ports development, air services, agriculture and agro-industries (exchange of professionals/scientists, information, and technology; and collaborative studies on agriculture and cooperation in rice farming and production).

Philippine exports to PNG of tuna, skipjack, and bonito; other non-inflatable rowing boats, canoes, and vessels, sports; stoppers, caps and lids, capsules for bottles, and sealants and other accessories, fishing nets, and other confectionery products are expected to also increase.

In Eastern Europe, the Philippines expects more robust trade with Russia, which is keen on investingin the country’s IT-BPM sector, processed and specialty food manufacture, non-renewable and renewable energy, design-driven products, and aerospace. These could propel increased exports to Russia of desiccated coconut, bananas, carrageenan, seaweeds and other algae, gas-fuelled and non-refillable pocket lighters, ignition wiring sets, and other wiring devices used in vehicles, aircraft, or ships.

With the United States as the country’s biggest trade partner, Baldoz said the Philippines will benefit more from American investments in the IT-BPM sector, food manufacture, and design-drivenproducts. It could also see more investments in electronics manufacturing, manufacturing of energy products, pharmaceuticals, and aerospace products, as well as in infrastructure and energy. On the other hand, the country could expect increased exports to the US of coconut oil, digital monolithic integrated circuits, storage units, static converters, ignition wiring sets and other wiring devices used in vehicles, aircraft, or ships.

“These potential investment and employment opportunities are tangible outcomes of the Philippines’ hosting and active participation in the APEC. We at the DOLE supports the inclusive growth strategy of the APEC region by expanding access to opportunities and enabling people to realize their full potential, which will result to more productive employment opportunities, dynamic economic growth, and greater well-being,” said Baldoz. (DOLE)


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