Phl spots bullish collaboration with US and Japan

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Philippines represented by DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual met with United States Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) Minister Ken Saito in the first Trilateral Economic Ministers Meeting in Washington, D.C., United States of America on April 11, 2024.

By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios

Robust collaboration with the United States of America and Japan is seen at the first Philippine-US-Japan Trilateral Economic Ministers Meeting.

The inaugural Trilateral Economic Ministers Meeting convened marking a historic milestone in the relations between the Philippines, the United States and Japan. The meeting brought together Secretary Fred Pascual of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Secretary Gina Raimondo of the US Department of Commerce, and Minister Ken Saito of the Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).

In his opening remarks, the DTI Chief highlighted the three countries’ deep friendship, strong economic ties and collective commitment to democratic values. He explained that their task as Ministers in-charge of Trade, Industry, and Commerce of their respective countries is to inject actionable details into their leaders’ joint vision statement.

The areas of cooperation identified in the Joint Vision Statement include infrastructure and industrial cooperation projects. During his intervention, Secretary Pascual emphasized, “A robust Philippine economy equates to a strong alliance.”

He presented three key projects designed to spur growth in the Luzon Economic Corridor. These initiatives will create strategic connections between the burgeoning areas of Subic and Clark, both former U.S. military bases, and the established manufacturing center in the Cavite-Laguna-Batangas (CALABARZON) region, a prime location for Japanese export-manufacturing firms. The three projects are the Subic-Clark-Manila- Batangas Railway system, Clark International Airport Development and Expansion initiative, and Clark National Food Hub. Secretary Raimundo and Minister Saito have expressed their support for making these projects happen.

Secretary Pascual also stressed the importance of having a Critical Minerals Agreement (CMA) between the Philippines and the U.S. or, as an alternative, for the Philippines to accede to the US-Japan CMA (for a Trilateral CMA). This proposed agreement will be a good signal and an incentive for the Private Sector to invest in ore processing in the Philippines. The US and Japan and the rest of the world need the Philippines’ critical minerals, especially nickel, cobalt and copper.

In his closing remarks, Secretary Pascual expressed optimism on future collaborations and urged sustained engagement to realize shared objectives. He also stressed the potential impact of proposed projects on economic development and social welfare, calling for continued communication and implementation efforts from all sides.

The Trilateral Economic Ministers Meeting lays the groundwork for dynamic cooperation among the three nations, setting a positive trajectory for future engagements and mutual prosperity.

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