US trade mission sees $1-B investments to PH

After fruitful meetings on the first day of the United States Presidential Trade Mission to the Philippines on March 11, US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo shared that the 22 company heads in their delegation have indicated over $1-billion in investments to the country.

“On this trip alone, these companies are announcing over $1 billion of US investments, including educational [and training] opportunities to over 30 million Filipinos in the form of digital upskilling, artificial intelligence (AI) upskilling, and digital training,” said Raimondo during a press conference in Pasay City on Monday, March 11. 

DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual clarified that the investments are merely estimates and indications, which will eventually mature into actual investments. 

These investments cover the priority areas of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. 's administration namely solar energy (manufacturing solar panels) electric vehicle (EVs), digitization, cybersecurity, telecommunications (subsea cables), and upskilling. 

Thousands of high-paying jobs may be given to Filipinos as a result of these investments, she shared. 

(From left) Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Alfredo Pascual, US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Special Assistant to the President for Investment and Economic Affairs Frederick Go during a press conference at Solaire on March 11, 2024, discussing US Presidential Trade Mission. (Photo by Khriscielle Yalao)

An education and training opportunity highlighted by the Commerce Secretary was Microsoft Corporation’s initiatives to deploy a co-pilot chat box tool and build proof of concepts with open AI service, its partnership with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to train 100,000 Filipino women with AI and cybersecurity skills, and the rollout of an AI learning roadmap to help train students. 

She also shared plans to establish an electric vehicle (EV) education center to train Filipinos, solar and nuclear projects to support energy and climate goals, and a new airline route to Cebu. 

The 22 firms included in the Trade Mission delegation are Google Asia Pacific, Visa Inc., United Airlines, United Parcel Service (UPS), FedEx, Mastercard, Microsoft Corp., Marquis, Black & Veatch Corp., GreenFire Energy, Inc., President’s Export Council, EchoStar/DISH, InnovationForce, Boston Consulting Group, KKR, SolGo, Capital One Philippines, U.S.-ASEAN Business Council, Bechtel, the Foundation International, UltraPass ID, and Ultra Safe Nuclear Corp. 

According to Raimondo, US companies are eager to do business in the Philippines and are interested in investing in Filipinos.

She affirmed the US’ commitment to expanding trade and improving conditions for trade and investments bilaterally with the Philippines and regionally through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework. 

“The Philippine - US alliance is ironclad. It has sustained over 72 years and we remain steadfast friends and increasing partners in prosperity. President Marcos reiterated when we were with him that he cannot imagine the Philippines’ future without the close bond with the United States,” she said. 

Raimondo also expressed her confidence that the initial Trade mission is the “beginning of the next wave for new and exciting economic engagements.” 

Pascual stressed that the mission is a “good and excellent initial salvo,” expecting a “continuing collaborative effort to bring US investors into the Philippines.” 

“We hope that the next missions will look also more seriously at green minerals, semiconductors, electronics, food manufacturing,” said Special Assistant to the President for Investment and Economic Affairs Frederick Go. 

After the press conference, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed by representatives of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Foundation, International, Legacy EV, LLC to develop e-mobility and sustainable development programs for Filipinos. 

Memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed by representatives of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Foundation, International, Legacy EV, LLC. (Photo by Khriscielle Yalao)