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PH urges Turkish firms to participate in infrastructure initiative, increase trade

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By Alithea De Jesus

The Philippine government has urged Turkish companies to participate in the Philippines’ massive infrastructure initiative which banks to revive its economy following the pandemic, and at the same time expand bilateral trade with the country.

Philippine Ambassador to Turkey Raul Hernandez said that under the Build, Build, Build program, the country will continue constructing a number of roads, railways, airports, and other infrastructure projects.

“We believe that the Build, Build, Build program is the best way to revive the economy due to infrastructure’s high multiplier effect, stimulating demand, and generating new jobs and businesses,” he said in an online seminar.

“We are aware that Turkey is the world’s second-largest contractor and we encourage your construction companies to participate through contracting, joint ventures, consortiums, and PPP (public-private partnership),” he added.

Ceferino Rodolfo, Trade Undersecretary and Board of Investments (BOI) managing head, said total BOI approved investments rose by 120 percent in the first seven months of the year, driven mainly by registration of those in the medium to long term type sectors, including in infrastructure.

“We continue to give incentives and we are further enhancing the incentives that we provide to investors,” he said.

Gonca Yilmaz Batur, Deputy Minister of Trade of the Republic of Turkey, underscored the need for Turkish companies to recognize the significant construction projects in the Philippines.

“Henceforth, we think that our contracting companies should undertake projects under the Build, Build, Build initiative and transfer technical expertise to the Philippines in this field,” she said in the same seminar.

Apart from participating in infrastructure projects, Hernandez encouraged Turkish businesses and investors to explore opportunities in other areas of trade, tourism, and investments.

The ambassador said the Philippines continues to perform well in information technology and business process management, electronics, and retail sectors.

“The Philippines has a large domestic market of 110 million with an average age of 25 years old. Strong domestic consumption is a large contributor for economic performance,” he said.

“We are also home to a highly and well-educated workforce that is fluent in English, a very important skill (that) investors look for. Second, we are liberalizing our legislation to attract more investors to the Philippines,” he added.

Rodolfo also identified other sectors the Philippines and Turkey can collaborate, including manufacturing, agriculture, fishery and forestry, strategic services, healthcare services, mass housing, innovation drivers, environment and climate change-related projects, and defense industry.

He added production of personal protection equipment (PPE) needed by the medical front-liners is another area the two countries can do business with.

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