Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez pushed for greater bilateral cooperation on the area of barter trade between the Philippines (PH) and Malaysia (MY) during his dialogue with Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Ignatius Darell Leiking on 8 March 2019. The trade chief highlighted the revival of barter trade system in Mindanao will support the promotion of Halal industry from both countries. The ministers also agreed to cooperate in strengthening the Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines East ASEAN Growth Areas (BIMP-EAGA).
“We should really make these areas of cooperation work as it will create and bring more economic activities to both Filipinos and Malaysians. The barter trade as well as the BIMP-EAGA will mean a lot to our people,” said Sec. Lopez.
The trade chief conveyed the ongoing progress in the revival of barter trade system in Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi areas (BASULTA) that aim to provide more livelihood and income to small coastal communities, especially in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. Likewise, he underscored PH’s potential in Halal industry and the opportunities it offers to Malaysian consumers.
Officials from the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) noted that apart from electronics, top imports from PH include processed food, which could be a strong start for Halal promotions.
In 2018, MY stood as the country’s 10th largest trading partner, 11th export market, and 9th top import supplier. Total bilateral trade from both countries amounted to USD 6 billion in 2018 compared to USD 5.5 billion in 2017.
DTI will head a delegation on April to attend the Malaysia International Halal Showcase. “This kind of activities are very important to PH as the country is still beginning to recognize its potentials in the Halal industry and would learn much from big economies, like Malaysia,” Sec. Lopez added.
Both ministers expressed the need to focus on the development of ASEAN’s sub regions, which include the BIMP-EAGA.
Meanwhile, Minister Leiking expressed his appreciation on PH products and home-grown brands like Jollibee, which is currently expanding in MY.
MITI officials also conveyed the interest of many Malaysian companies in participating in PH government’s massive infrastructure project, Build Build Build as well as the assistance extended to companies intending to invest in PH
The meeting between Sec. Lopez and Minister Leiking followed the visit to PH of His Excellency Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad last week. Present during the meeting were DTI Undersecretaries Ceferino Rodolfo and Abdulgani Macatoman, Assistant Secretaries Angelo Taningco and Allan Gepty, Board of Investments International Investments Promotion Service Chief Lanie Dormiendo, Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) Chief Executive Officer Dato’ Wan Latiff Wan Musa, Malaysian Investment Development Authority Executive Director for Strategic Planning Zabidi Mahbar, ASEAN Economic Integration Division of MITI Director Khairulnizam Hashim, and MATRADE Manila Trade Commissioner Siti Azlina Mohd Ali Hanafiah.