The Philippines and Argentina should work together to expand their “limited” economic ties, the Latin American country’s envoy to the Manila said on Thursday.
During a roundtable interview with The Manila Times editors, Ambassador Roberto Bosch said Buenos Aires attaches great importance to developing relations with the Philippines, especially in terms of trade.
“Our trade relation for now is very limited but the future will be great especially with the plan of Farmesa to open a big plant in the Philippines,” Bosch said, referring to Laboratorios Farmesa SAIC, Argentina’s biggest manufacturer of savory additives and plant-based ingredients for the food industry.
He added that Farmesa is eyeing to build a manufacturing plant in the Philippines, a move which, if realized, should further boost trade relations between the two countries.
Farmesa will open its international arm, Farmesa Asia Pacific Inc., in Batangas, according to Bosch.
Currently, Farmesa has its commercial office in the country, which Bosch said, is part of the company’s expansion plans in the Asia-Pacific region, with Manila as regional base.
“Yes, it is very interesting. I think this will further boost our relationship,” he added.
In the Philippines, Bosch said “there are a lot of opportunities” but “the shipping, the transport and the distance are always a challenge.”
“We’re trading a lot with China, Vietnam and Indonesia and it doesn’t seem to be as [much as we do]here,” he noted.
The ambassador cited Argentina’s lack of awareness of business opportunities in the Philippines.
He, however, said Argentina is “very open for business partnerships.”
“I’m trying to promote the Philippine market in Argentina. And I would love to see some investments in infrastructure here,” Bosch added.
“We have companies that are very active in the airport industry in South America. They are also starting to invest in Europe. So we really like to see them here. There’s a lot of opportunities here,” he said.
Argentina, according to Bosch, is exporting citrus fruits, which according to him, is “something that we continue to grow.”
“I think we are one of the biggest exporters of lemon in the world. I think there’s a good opportunity there,” he said.
But, the envoy added, Argentina also wants to strengthen its exports by sending more processed foods aside from fruits and soya.
“We started to export products that are used for the processing of beef for processed foods like sausage, corned beef, etc. Because when the price of beef is very high, the producers want to have more source of income,” he said.
“So that’s a good opportunity for exporters. We import and export a lot of products, so there’s really a lot of opportunities,” Bosch added.
Top exports of the Philippines to Argentina are vehicle and machine parts and electronics.
Argentina is one of the first Latin American states with which the Philippines had established bilateral ties.
Those ties began 64 years ago.