Philippines pursues stronger trade, investment ties with Malaysia

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines wants to expand trade and investment ties with Malaysia by taking advantage of opportunities available in agriculture, manufacturing, technology and innovation, halal and infrastructure.

“Through stronger engagements in trade and investment, we are sure to expand our bilateral trade relations and solidify even further the ties between our two countries,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said during the Philippines-Malaysia Business Forum.

He said there are opportunities for both countries to promote partnerships and to increase trade in various sectors.

“On our end, the Philippines is interested in pushing for agriculture, processing of high-value and value-added products and services, as well as technology and innovation that would address the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” he said.

He said another area which offers opportunities for both countries is halal.

To be considered halal, a product or service must follow the prescribed process of preparation according to Islamic law and be officially recognized by halal certification agencies.

In addition to halal, Lopez said the two countries could work together in developing barter trade in Mindanao.

In October last year, President Duterte signed Executive Order 64 which seeks to revive the barter trade system to promote growth and development in Mindanao.

The government is currently working on the rules covering the mechanism for the valuation of goods, allowable goods, and measures to prevent smuggling and circumvention of customs laws for the revival of barter trade in Mindanao.

In terms of investment, Lopez said the Philippines would want to develop more business matches in infrastructure development.

At present, there are Philippine and Malaysian companies with operations in the two countries.

Among Philippine firms with presence in Malaysia are Ayala Land Inc. through its interest in property and construction firm MCT, Aboitiz Equity Ventures Inc. through food subsidiary Pilmico International, and Jollibee Foods Corp.

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