Philip­pines trade ex­pands, trade value dou­bles: MOEA


Af­ter years of strength­en­ing eco­nomic re­la­tions, Tai­wan and the Philip­pines are ex­pected to con­tinue experiencing in­creas­ing amounts of bi­lat­eral trade, ac­cord­ing to Tai­wan’s Min­istry of Eco­nomic Af­fairs, with trade vol­ume be­tween the two coun­tries dou­bling from US$6.05 bil­lion in 2009 to nearly US$12 bil­lion in 2014.

Cur­rent fig­ures make the Philip­pines Tai­wan’s 11th largest trad­ing part­ner. Con­versely, Tai­wan is the sixth largest des­ti­na­tion of ex­ports for the Philip­pines.

In 2014, the Philip­pines ex­ported US$2.07 bil­lion in goods to Tai­wan, while im­ports from Tai­wan stood at US$9.53 bil­lion, ac­cord­ing to data pro­vided by Tai­wan’s Min­istry of Eco­nomic Af­fairs.

Ber­ton B. C. Chiu, Tai­wan’s Eco­nomic Coun­selor for Re­gional Eco­nomic In­te­gra­tion Projects, said that the Philip­pines is a “per­fect place for Tai­wanese in­vest­ments.”

“We have a lot of in­vest­ments in the Philip­pines and we also es­tab­lished a bi­lat­eral eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion,” Chiu told The Manila Times in an in­ter­view.

“We are now work­ing more closely with the Philip­pines to fur­ther boost bi­lat­eral trade and in­vest­ment re­la­tions of both economies,” he added.

As close neigh­bors, Chiu said that Tai­wan and the Philip­pines have a wide range of co­op­er­a­tive re­la­tions, in­clud­ing trade and in­vest­ment, agri­cul­ture, fish­eries, bank­ing, min­ing, elec­tric power, phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals, food pro­cess­ing, elec­tron­ics, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, la­bor, tourism, science, in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy (ICT) and ed­u­ca­tion.

“We are good in ICT. So we try to share our ex­pe­ri­ence on how we de­velop ICT with the Philip­pines. I think, this could fur­ther boost our re­la­tion­ship with the Philip­pines,” he said.

In the Philip­pines, Tai­wan in­vest­ments can be found mainly in Su­bic and South Lu­zon Area. Also there are num­ber of power gen­er­a­tion in­dus­try in­vest­ments in Visayas, and fish­ing in­dus­try in­vest­ments in Min­danao.

Over the years, Tai­wan has ex­panded its pres­ence in the Philip­pines by es­tab­lish­ing sev­eral com­pa­nies all over the coun­try.

Re­cently, there have been de­vel­op­ments on the in­crease of in­vest­ments of Tai­wanese com­pa­nies in the Philip­pines.

Th­ese in­clude Cathay Life In­sur­ance Co, Tai­wan’s largest life in­surer that re­cently ac­quired a 20-per­cent stake in Rizal Com­mer­cial Bank­ing Cor­po­ra­tion ( RCBC) for P17.92 bil­lion; the Kinpo Elec­tron­ics Inc, a lead­ing global orig­i­nal-de­sign man­u­fac­turer and elec­tron­ics man­u­fac­tur­ing ser­vices part­ner that in­vested P1.4 bil­lion to fur­ther ex­pand its Batan­gas fa­cil­ity; the Philip­pine Seven Cor­po­ra­tion, the li­censee of Tai­wan’s 7-Eleven that posted a 28-per­cent growth on its net in­come amount­ing to P873 mil­lion for 2014; and the Bioteque Cor­po­ra­tion, Tai­wan’s lead­ing med­i­cal de­vice man­u­fac­turer that started con­struc­tion of its fac­tory in the Philip­pines, which will be op­er­a­tional by the end of this year.

Green Trade

Be­ing the largest pro­ducer of LED in the world, Chiu said that Tai­wan has also a lot to of­fer in the field of green tech­nol­ogy.

Re­cently, he said that sev­eral Tai­wan com­pa­nies have vis­ited the Philip­pines and in­tro­duced their LED light­ing sys­tem, which can re­duce up to 70 per­cent of elec­tric­ity us­age.

“A lot of Philip­pine com­pa­nies have shown in­ter­est on th­ese prod­ucts,” Chiu said.

“Tai­wan’s LED light­ing sys­tem and so­lar light­ing sys­tem may serve as op­tions in ar­eas in the Philip­pines that suf­fer from power short­ages,” he added. Ac­cord­ing to Chiu, Tai­wan and the Philip­pines have both in­vested re­sources in smart grid plan­ning and con­struc­tion.

“Tai­wanese smart grid com­pa­nies hope to in­crease their in­vest­ments and sales in the Philip­pines. Both sides agreed to co­or­di­nate their ef­forts to spur greater in­vest­ment in the Philip­pines and the devel­op­ment of the smart grid in­dus­try,” he said.

Aside from that, Chiu said both coun­tries have also ex­pressed in­ter­ests in the area of geo­ther­mal power op­er­a­tion.

In Au­gust last year, Tai­wan’s Bureau of En­ergy led a 12-mem­ber del­e­ga­tion that vis­ited the Philip­pines and dis­cussed geo­ther­mal gen­er­a­tion poli­cies, geo­ther­mal well drilling tech­nolo­gies, and vol­canic geo­ther­mal tech­nolo­gies.

They also dis­cussed the process of geo­ther­mal devel­op­ment in Tai­wan; Philip­pines in­vest­ment of geo­ther­mal power in Tai­wan; and hu­man re­source co­op­er­a­tion.

“Tai­wan has stated that the Philip­pines can as­sist Tai­wan in over­com­ing dif­fi­cul­ties re­gard­ing the Tatun project since the Philip­pines has a rich ex­pe­ri­ence in the field of vol­canic geo­ther­mal devel­op­ment,” Chiu said.

He said the Philip­pines of­fered to help Tai­wan to for­mu­late its own geo­ther­mal pol­icy frame­work and en­hance its ca­pa­bil­ity in geo­ther­mal re­source as­sess­ment through a mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing.

Mean­while, Chiu said that Tai­wan has of­fered to share with the Philip­pines its ex­pe­ri­ence on how to de­velop SME (Small and Medium En­ter­prises) in­dus­try in the coun­try.

“I think, your gov­ern­ment al­ways raised in­ter­est on how Tai­wan can help the Philip­pines de­velop SME. So we try to share our ex­pe­ri­ence with the Philip­pines,” Chiu said.

Tai­wan, to­gether with the Industrial Tech­nol­ogy Re­search In­sti­tute, will help the Philip­pines in de­vel­op­ing in­cu­ba­tion cen­ters to sup­port the devel­op­ment of Filipino SMEs, he said.

“We al­ready talked about how we can solve, ad­dress all the trade prob­lems and also how to fur­ther boost the re­la­tion­ships with the Philip­pines in par­tic­u­lar. I know this kind of eco­nomic co­op­er­a­tion will last for a very long time. We want this to con­tinue,” Chiu added.

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