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Phl port operators eye Russia market

MANILA, Philippines -  Port operators such as International Container Terminal Services Inc. of tycoon Enrique Razon, Romero- owned RII Builders and Tanco-led Asian Terminals Inc. will have the chance to expand in Russia following the initiatives of the business delegation in the Eurasian country last month.

Less than a month since Philippine businessmen visited Russia, the VTB Bank of Russia has expressed interest in helping the country’s port operators and other big companies to do business in Russia.

VTB is one of the top two international banks in Russia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe, and majority-owned by its government. It has conveyed its interest to support big companies in the Philippines to  establish presence   and engage in lucrative businesses in Russia.

“We would like to pursue, among others, business interests mentioned during the recent visit, namely from the Maritime Infrastructure Sector (ports, container terminals and bulk terminals and handling facilities), Agricultural and Forestry Sectors (fruits, grains, timber, other commodities), Metals and Minerals (steel, iron, platinum, gold) as well as Energy (Gas), Property Development and Construction Sectors,” it said in a June 9 letter to Roberto de Venecia, chairman of the Philippines-Russia Business Council, one of the business organizations that participated in the visit.

 “Following the recent visit of President Duterte to Russia and the signing of our memorandum of understanding in Moscow, we would like to express our strong interest in developing a productive dialogue with business leaders of the Republic of the Philippines in order to potentially provide advisory for mergers and acquisitions and assist with the raising of financing in the international debt and equity capital markets,” VTB added.

All these will serve as a signal for the Departments of Finance, Agriculture and Trade and Industry to talk personally to the business leaders and to President Duterte, an initiative that will surely lead to creating pioneering opportunities for Philippine businesses, industry observers said.

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Furthermore, De Venecia said this will help increase foreign exchange earnings, create thousands of employment, increase local production and exports, and most importantly, result in improved bilateral relations between the Philippines and the Russian Federation.

“The next presidential visit to Russia should be in effect soon,” he said.

President Duterte cut short his visit to Moscow last month because of the terrorist attack in Marawi, but the Russian Federation looks forward to having him again as the two countries held a new chapter in political and trade relations.

Some 200 businessmen stayed on in Russia to seek trade opportunities in the largest country in the world even as the President had to cut short his official visit.

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