A large 182-member South Korean trade mission is here in the country “to foster commercial and institutional linkages” between foreign businesses and stakeholders in the Philippines.
Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Ponciano Manalo Jr. said that the country wants to improve economic relations with South Korea, and to promote Philippine business and tourism programs.
“We also look at it as support to our efforts in raising awareness about the Philippines’ supply capabilities and sustaining the current momentum of tourism interest among Koreans,” Manalo said.
“This year, the Philippines was selected over Thailand and Myanmar as the country to be visited by KOIMA’s [Korea Importer’s Association] summer buying mission,” Manalo said.
The DTI, in partnership with the Department of Tourism (DOT), has organized a series of trade and investment seminars and matching of Korean and Filipino businessmen that will run from July 17 to 20.
In line with that, chief executives and senior officer members of KOIMA are visiting the Philippines to look at potential partnerships and investments in the country.
“The DTI also sees the opportunity to develop and expand the current inventory of Philippine exports by exposing the group of Korean importers to alternative products and services. Examples of these products are organic chemicals, oleo-chemicals, minerals other than copper, electronics, motorcycle parts,” Manalo said.
According to Koima, the buying mission is one of the top priorities of the association with support from their government, which include the Ministry of Knowledge and Economy, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
According to Bureau of Export Trade Promotion (BETP) records, Philippine trade with Korea grew by 9.53 percent from $5.5 billion in 2007 to $7.4 billion in 2012.
Exports increased by 27.93 percent from 2011’s $2.2 billion to 2012’s $2.9 billion, making South Korea the sixth largest market for Philippine exports. Meanwhile, imports from South Korea increased by 1.19 percent from 2011’s $4.4 billion to 2012’s $4.5 billion, making it the Philippines’ fifth top source of imports.
The Philippines has a regional free trade agreement with Korea through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-Korea Free Trade Area.
“While we have already lined up a number of local companies, we are still open for more participants from the business community to join us in the business matching session between Philippine companies and the Koima,” said Senen Perlada, BETP director.