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Business

$925M in business deals signed during Duterte's Gulf tour

Alexis Romero - Philstar.com
$925M in business deals signed during Duterte's Gulf tour
President Rodrigo Duterte delivers a speech at the Philippines-Qatar Business Forum in Four Seasons Hotel in Doha, Qatar on April 15, 2017.
Toto Lozano / Presidential Photo
DOHA — A total of 21 business deals worth $925 million were signed during President Duterte’s week-long visit to three countries in the Middle East.
 
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the deals are expected to create at least 26,000 jobs.
 
“We want to emphasize that everything we do during the visit of the president and his team are part of the Dutertenomics, which aims to create more jobs, businesses and opportunities through investment promotion, and increased trade,” the trade chief said in a press conference Sunday here.
 
Lopez said the seven investment deals signed in Saudi Arabia cost $470 million and would generate 16,000 jobs in pharmacy, property development, medical tourism, ports and warehouses, agri-industrial zones, tourism and halal food processing sectors.  
 
The $250 million agreement inked in Bahrain would create 4,000 employment opportunities. Under the agreement, AMA Group Holdings Corp. and Nader & Ebrahim Sons of Hassan Company WLL will expand their operation in Mindanao, particularly in Davao, targeting additional 10,000 hectares of farmland for agricultural production. Lopez said the number of jobs can increase to 40,000 once the expansion is completed.
 
The 13 business-to-business agreements signed in Qatar cost $206 million and are expected to create 6,000 jobs.
 
The parties that signed the deals are into retirement industry, hotel, tourism, information technology and economic zone management services, hospitals and medical tourism, poultry and halal food processing, digital marketing, manufacture of coco peat and coco fiber, manufacture and export facility of nanostructured carbon and agriculture.

Sovereign fund

Lopez said the Qatari government may also allot $1 billion from its sovereign funds to investments in the Philippines.
 
He said the funds would be released once the Philippines and Qatar firm up the guidelines of an investment protection and promotion agreement.
 
“It (agreement) provides the basic rights and guarantees to investors. It gives equal treatment to both sides of the investment and of course identify of opportunities for cooperation,” Lopez said.
 
“It’s nine years in making. Since 2008, there’s a lot of work involved in the legal and economic aspect of the negotiations,” he added.
 
The agreement was expected to be signed Sunday in the presence of President Duterte and Qatari Emir Sheikh Hamad bin Al Thani.
 
Aside from the investment protection and promotion agreement, the Philippines and Qatar will sign agreements that would strengthen cooperation on health, culture and technical and vocational education.
 
The agreement on health will allow personnel exchanges and promote cooperation on health services and medical research. The bilateral cooperation on culture will call for artistic exhibitions, translation of literary works and promotion of the arts of the two countries.
 
The agreement on technical vocation and education will allow the exchanges and training of professionals, provide scholarships to trainers and trainees, and distribute research materials.

PHILIPPINE ECONOMY PRESIDENT RODRIGO DUTERTE
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