There might be peaks and valleys in the bilateral relations between the Philippines and the United States, but the partnership continues to be resilient, anchored on deep people-to-people ties, a solid military alliance and a robust economic partnership.
A virtual economic meeting dubbed as “PH-US at 75: Strengthening Ties Through Economic Recovery” on April 15 co-organized by the Philippine Embassy in Washington, D.C. and the US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC) underscores the enduring alliance between the Philippines and the United States, focusing on economic relations as a key anchor that has allowed the relationship to thrive over the years.
The US happens to be the Philippines’ third biggest trading partner as well as one of the biggest sources of foreign direct investments (FDI) to the Philippines, while the latter is a beneficiary under the US Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program that grants duty-free access for thousands of Philippine-made products imported to the US. In 2019, the Philippines exported an estimated 1.6 billion US dollars of its products to the US under GSP.
Leading the panelists from the Philippine government are Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi and Transportation Secretary Arturo Tugade. Joining them are US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) chief executive officer David Marchick and United States Agency for International Development (USAID) acting administrator Gloria D. Steele.
Among the highlights of the discussion would be the importance of sustainability at the core of the recovery agenda as well as opportunities to further bolster ties, and achieve mutually beneficial goals, and the initiatives being undertaken to create an attractive business environment for both nations. Opportunities to enhance trade and investment opportunities between the two countries, pandemic response and economic recovery efforts will also be tackled, with focus to be given to manufacturing, construction, clean energy, telecommunications and healthcare which is especially critical in building up resilience amid the covid-19 pandemic.
Representatives from some of the biggest US companies that include Coca-Cola, IBM, FedEx, Procter & Gamble, Cargill, Fluor, Merck Sharp and Dohme will also be sharing their experiences in doing business in the Philippines and the role they have played in national development. Executives from Jollibee Foods Corp., PLDT, AC industrial Technology Holdings and other prominent names from the Philippine business sector will also be on hand during the discussion.
“Some say 75 years is indeed a long time to stay as friends, partners, and allies, but I believe this is an undeniable testament to the depth and quality of the bilateral relationship. Our ties have withstood the test of time and have served both our countries and peoples well,” remarked Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez during the official launch of a yearlong bilateral campaign to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the establishment of formal diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the United States.
Joining Ambassador Romualdez during the campaign launch held on the grounds of the Philippine Embassy in Washington was former US Ambassador to the Philippines and now US Acting Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific AffairsSung Kim, and US Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Ambassador Atul Keshap.
The yearlong commemoration provides an opportunity for both nations to take stock of what they have achieved together throughout the years and reaffirm their commitment to more robust ties, and to a relationship that remains relevant in a world that will be facing new and continuing challenges, Ambassador Romualdez noted.
There are over four million US citizens of Philippine descent living in the US. Prior to the pandemic, an estimated 350,000 Americans live and travel in the Philippines at any given time. Every year, an average of 650,000 Americans also visit the Philippines.
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