THE PHILIPPINES and Turkey have signed two memoranda of understanding (MoU) on investment in agriculture, manufacturing and services during the first Joint Committee on Economic and Technical Cooperation meeting in Ankara.
In a statement released by the Board of Investments, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez outlined the agreed areas of cooperation in the first MoU: services and infrastructure, agro-processing, manufacturing and the further development of mico, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
“Engaging with Turkey is in line with the thrust of President Rodrigo R. Duterte’s administration to engage with nontraditional trading partners to reinvigorate ties and increase trade between both countries,” Mr. Lopez said.
In the area of agriculture exports, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is looking at expanding mango, coconuts and banana shipments to Turkey. Manufactured goods include textiles, clothing and pharmaceuticals.
The Philippines currently exports desiccated coconut, personal care goods, electronics and tires to Turkey.
“During our discussions, we noticed that there are opportunities for our Philippine exporters — whether for manufactured goods or services — to further tap the Turkish market,” Mr. Lopez said.
In services, the areas for cooperation were listed as customs, energy, science and technology, education, film and creative industries, defense, contracting and consultancy.
The Turkish side hopes to expand the Philippine market for its textiles, tourism, pharmaceutical, and infrastructure development industries.
Turkey is the Philippines’ 45th-largest trading partner. In the first 11 months of 2017, bilateral trade between the two countries amounted to $163 million.
Turkey’s per capita income is twice as large as that of the Philippines and grew its economy 11.1% in the third quarter last year.
Turkey has also expressed special interest in the Marawi rebuilding effort via Islamic financing channels.
“The Philippines is committed to pursue several growth opportunities by strengthening partnerships with emerging economic partners like Turkey,” Mr. Lopez said.
DTI’s Turkish counterpart is set to hold an investments and trade mission to the Philippines next month.
Another MoU, which was signed by the Philippine ambassador to Turkey, centers on cooperation in agriculture, rural development, irrigation and promotion of joint ventures between private sectors. — Anna Gabriela A. Mogato