PH, Korean businessmen to sign $4.8-B trade deals


SEOUL – South Korean businessmen are interested in investing in the Philippines with the signing of 23 business deals with an estimated value of $4.858 billion.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the private business deals, forged during the President Duterte’s visit to South Korea, are expected to generate 50,000 new jobs for Filipinos back home.

The agreements, including a memorandum of agreement (MOA), six memorandum of understanding (MOU), and 16 letters of intent (LOI) from Korean companies, were signed during the business forum attended by the President on the last day of his three-day visit there.

“These investments are expected to generate 50,000 new jobs in the sectors of automative, public utility, modernization, LNG (liquified natural gas) and coal fire power, engineering, construction, sea offshore services, food and aquaculture,” Lopez said during the forum held at Lotte Hotel here.

“These are all in addition to the five government-to-government MOUs signed by the government with the Korean government,” he added.

One of the biggest business deals is the $900-million power plant being planned by POSCO Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd. Lopez, speaking to reporters ahead of the business meeting, said this company intends to invest on energy plant in Masinloc, Zambales.

He said POSCO also intends to expand operations in the Philippines amounting to $200 million to generate 2,000 jobs, with plans to possibly invest in iron and steel operation, and construction operations to support the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program.

“The coverage of these business agreements basically reflect the interest of Korea especially including SME (small and medium enterprises) assistance. We have big companies involved for the signing but we also cater to SMEs,” Lopez said in a press conference before the business assembly.

Lopez said South Korea businessmen are bullish about the Philippine economic prospects, recognzing the nation’s fast growth rate.

“They all know that with the large population and growing middle class, there’s a lot of opportunity for constructer, infrastructure, construction, consumer goods, retailing,” he said.

He said the business sentiment towards the President was “very positive,” adding they have lauded his strong political will and reform agenda.

“Everybody recognizes the strong political will, the change the President is bringing, all the reforms that we’re talking about. They all realize the administration is determined to make changes for the better. And it’s being reflected now in the statistics we see, the economic fundamentals,” Lopez said.

Among the business deals will be the proposed power business activity of SK Engineering and Construction in the Philippines, according to Lopez. He said the company is interested to build a coal-fired power plant in Quezon as well as expand operations liquified natural gas and power infrastructure development and LNG trading and city-gas distribution.

Lopez said Hyundai was keen on reviewing plans to build a production facility to assembly passenger and commercial vehicles in the Philippines.

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Written by Tempo Online

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