Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez has offered India to make the Philippines its jump off point to the mega trade area Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) by putting up its manufacturing operations in the country, including pharmaceuticals, as well as support India’s plan for jeepney production and electronics manufacturing here.
Lopez raised this during a virtual courtesy call of India Ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu Kumaran as one way to further strengthen Philippines and India’s trade and investment relationship.
During the call on Monday, April 5, both countries discussed the necessary steps to create more market opportunities and improve their bilateral trade relations.
Lopez mentioned that the Philippines can be India’s complementary site for the production of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs), vaccines, essential medicines, and biologicals. Market opportunities in the country’s data centers and other related information technology (IT) infrastructures were also raised by Sec. Lopez, as he cited big local telecommunication companies that can serve as India’s potential partners.
Ambassador Kumaran shared India’s plans to penetrate jeepney manufacturing and electronic manufacturing industry in the country. He stated that India is also interested to learn about geothermal energy from the Philippines as part of its objectives to further renewable energy trade plans.
The trade chief also discussed with the Indian ambassador the recently passed Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act, which offers market potential to Indian manufacturing companies who plan to pursue business in the Philippines.
The two officials also talked about the RCEP and how the Philippines can be a gateway for India to participate in the massive regional trade agreement.
India had decided to decline membership in the RCEP agreement discussions. The Philippines–India Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA)—which is still in the pipeline—was also brought up in the meeting as a means to capitalize on each other’s complementarities in terms of industrial strengths and resource endowments. Following the outcomes of the discussion in the 13th Philippines – India Joint Working Group on Trade and Investments (JWGTI) held on 17 September 2020, the two countries are committed to expanding their partnership in areas of agribusiness, electronics, infrastructure, renewable energy, and manufacturing, among others.