Pascual highlights Philippines role in supply chain resilience

Catherine Talavera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual highlighted the country’s role in attaining resilient supply chains due to its strategic location.

“With the Philippines’ central location, it has become a logical gateway to North and Pacific countries. Also, with its deep talent pool, the country’s participation can strengthen regional supply and global value chains” Pascual said at the Indo-Pacific Business Forum.

In addition, the rich natural resources present in the country, mainly green metals, are strong leverages in aligning with Indo-Pacific partners, according to the DTI.

It also said that this would encourage diversification and decrease reliance on sole suppliers, especially in building comparative advantages in critical sectors like electronics and services.

Meanwhile, the DTI said that through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF), the United States can assist the Philippines in adding value to the current supply chain.

“Given the participation of the Philippines in the IPEF, the included provisions on training and technical cooperation can also be a good starting point in the processing and production of nickel ore and other “green metal” products such as cobalt and copper,”the DTI said.

It said that these serve as critical raw materials in various industries such as electric vehicle manufacturing, renewable energy, and battery technologies.

The framework will also eventually be beneficial in lowering the power costs by tapping into renewable energy sources.

In November 2022, US Vice President Kamala Harris launched the US Trade and Development Agency grant to Eramen Minerals Inc. (EMI), a Filipino-based mining company, to assess the viability of developing an ore-to-battery grade nickel sulfate/hydroxide and cobalt sulfate processing facility to produce battery grade precursor materials.

“It’s also proximate and reachable that we’d be able to create wafer fabrication in the Philippines. We’ve already proven the capabilities of Filipino engineers through internal circuit design. There is an American company operating with one thousand IC design engineers here,”Pascual said during the forum.

US Ambassador MaryKay Carlson shared that the United States has doubled down on efforts to strengthen trade and investment ties with partners and allies in the Indo-Pacific region, including and especially in the Philippines.

“The hallmark of Biden administration’s work in this regard is the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity, or IPEF,”Carlson said.

She explained that through the IPEF, the United States seeks to chart a path with regional partners and allies to create economic opportunity, improve labor conditions, and promote sustainability for all our economies.

“Following a successful first round of IPEF negotiations last month in Australia, we expect a busy year of progress, including announcements of new projects in the Philippines,”she said.

Carlson emphasized the importance of relations between the US and the Philippines.

“Bilateral ties are very strong, and we are excited about the opportunity to do even more in 2023 to promote mutual economic prosperity.  And we see the private sector and business community as a key part of our dynamic and strategic partnership,”she said.

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