• PH, Germany set ‘new basis’ for maritime ties

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    The letter of intent (LOI) signed between Germany and the Philippines is “the new basis for maritime transport relations,” according to German Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure.

    “I am convinced that we can now have a new start. That we can build on a very solid and good foundation. And you can see by the size of the delegation that I have brought with me that we are very willing to promote economic ties with the Philippines,” German State Secretary of the Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure Michael Odenwald told Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade during the signing of the LOI.

    The LOI, which was signed on Tuesday, aims to further strengthen the existing friendly ties between the Philippines and Germany in the field of maritime transport, through the expansion of activities to promote cooperation such as: conducting regular talks to discuss proposals; the development and implementation of certain projects of mutual interest; the organization of training courses in the field of business and maritime transport; exchange of information concerning the investigation of marine accidents; cooperation in marine pollution prevention; and cooperation in the field of ports and maritime equipment, research, training and staff development in the field of maritime transport.

    “[This Letter of Intent] will firm the maritime relationship between the Republic of Germany and the Philippines. This document has been pending for a number of years and after that, lo and behold after barely three months we will sign the letter of intent,” Tugade said.

    According to Tugade, he and Odenwald met earlier this year and had discussions on prospects and possibilities to “to develop and implement projects of mutual interests, specifically in the fields of maritime, aviation, road transport, among others.”

    The German Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines released a study in 2016 stating that the maritime industry in the country is a major economic driver and provides a number of job and investment opportunities, especially in the construction sector.

    “The maritime industry in the Philippines is a major driver for the national economy. In addition to the strategic position of the Philippines, the archipelago not only provides a large pool of qualified and technical skilled seafarers but also offers a high level of experience in the maritime field,” the study said.

    The Philippines was recorded to have supplied 402,000 Filipino seafarers globally in 2014, making it the second largest supplier of seafarers worldwide next to China.

    “The construction sector has high potential. The development of the road infrastructure, the expansion, and modernization of some port capacities offer investment opportunities as well as market entry potential for port machinery and heavy equipment,” the study said.

    Tugade welcomed the German delegates to the Philippines and assured them that businessmen who plan to invest in the country will have a level-playing field that is free from corruption.

    “Mr. Minister, the Republic of the Philippines is opening its doors for business. If there is one thing that I can assure you in opening its doors for business is that there shall be no corruption. Corruption will be an intolerable, unforgivable issue when it comes to business relationships between our country and overseas,” Tugade said.
    Odenwald also expressed interest in assisting the Philippines in other transport areas.

    “We are more than willing to share our knowledge and expertise in the field of railway sector. And I think that we should also continue this cooperation. In my delegation, we also have representatives that have a lot of expertise in the field of railway construction,” Odenwald said.

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