MANILA, June 5, 2018 – President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s visit to South Korea has yielded USD4.9-billion worth of investments as part of the growing trade relations between the Philippines and the host country, his spokesman said Tuesday.
“Ang mga nakuha naman natin dito sa trip na ito, isang bilyon na Official Development Assistance (ODA) para sa ating mga infrastructure projects para po sa ating ‘Build, Build’ at 4.9 billion in dollars na mga investment(What we got from this trip is USD1-billion worth of ODA for our infrastructure projects under ‘Build, Build, Build’ and USD 4.9-billion worth of investments), Harry Roque said in an interview over DWFM.
These are the five government-to-government (G2G) agreements signed by the Philippines and South Korea:
- Memorandum of Understanding on Scientific and Technological Cooperation between the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) of the Philippines and the Ministry of Science and ICT of the Republic of Korea;
2. Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) of the Philippines and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) on Trade and Economic Cooperation;
3. Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation on the Expansion of Renewable Energy Deployment between the Department of National Defense (DND) of the Philippines and the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) of Korea;
4. Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Transportation (DOTr) of the Philippines and the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) of Korea Concerning Cooperation in the Field of Transport; and
5. Loan Agreement on the New Cebu International Container Port Project between the Government of Republic of the Philippines and the Export-Import Bank of Korea.
Roque said South Korea doubled its ODA to USD 1 billion for infrastructure projects under the administration’s “Build, Build, Build” program.
Finance Secretary Carlos “Sonny” Dominguez III explained that while South Korea earlier committed USD500 million from 2011 to 2013, they doubled it to USD1 billion available from 2017 to 2022.
Dominguez said the first loan carved out from the ODA amounts to USD172.64 million, which will be used to finance the New Cebu International Container Port Project.
This port project will increase the operational capacity of the main cargo way in Cebu, help alleviate road congestion in the Cebu base port area, and provide a more efficient and reliable transport infrastructure to enhance the flow of goods and services in Visayas.
He said three projects in the immediate pipeline under the ODA are the USD50-million project preparation facility for the National Irrigation Administration (NIA); USD100 million financing for the New Dumaguete Airport Development Project; and USD41 million for the implementation of Electronic Receipt Invoices and Sales Reporting System that will monitor all taxes paid by retailers in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, Dominguez recommended that the remaining USD636 million will be allotted to two or three of the flagship infrastructure projects identified in the “Build, Build, Build” program.
The finance chief said he will be submitting a list of the flagship projects for the South Korean government’s consideration.
Roque also said that South Korea has promised to look for ways to allow the entry of Filipino products with lower tariffs.
“Naririyan iyong pangako na hahanapan ng paraan para mas makapasok pa iyong mga produkto natin sa South Korea sa mas mababang taripa (There is their promise that they will find a way to allow the entry of our products in South Korea with lower tariffs),” Roque said.
In the same briefing, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the government is looking to forge a trading agreement on improving the market access of Philippine agricultural products to Korea.
“There are still products that we wish to improve market access on, like banana, pineapple, mangoes, coconut. We are the largest supplier of banana to South Korea but our market share is also challenged by other suppliers. This is because the tariff rates still have room for reduction,” Lopez said.
He said that while tariff rates for agricultural products are still in the range of 25 to 30 percent, he will request South Korea to bring it down to the vicinity of 5 percent almost at the same rate that the Philippines is offering products from South Korea.
“In other words, tayo po nagbaba ng ng taripa (we have decreased our tariff) so we are basically asking for reciprocity as to the products that would enter South Korea,” Lopez said.
Moreover, Lopez said that 23 business-to-business (B2B) deals amounting to USD4.8 billion will be signed late Tuesday, which are expected to generate some 50,000 jobs. These agreements are on top of the five G2G agreements that were earlier signed. (PNA)