Early Negotiation of PTA between India and Philippines for enhanced market access in the Indo-Pacific region: H.E. Ramon M. Lopez
New Delhi: In the quest to enhance depth of economic cooperation, a business conference on India-Philippines Infrastructure Cooperation, was held on Thursday 18 February 2021. The event was jointly organized by the Confederation of Industry (CII) and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in coordination with the Embassy of India in Philippines. This was the second business event organized jointly by them within the period of six months.
The Conference showcased opportunities for collaboration in the flagship infrastructure development program, “Build, Build, Build” (BBB) to Indian companies.
As a testimony of the growing relationship between India and Philippines, this business event witnessed participation of two senior Ministers from the Philippines, Mr. Arthur P. Tugade, Secretary, Department of Transportation and Mr. Ramon M. Lopez, Secretary, Department of Trade and Industry. The event also witnessed presence of the Indian Ambassador to the Philippines Mr Shambhu S Kumaran and the Philippines Ambassador to India Mr Ramon S Bagatsing Jr.
In his presentation, Transport Minister Mr. Arthur P. Tugade highlighted potential projects in the field of railways, airports, shipbuilding, ports and urban infrastructure in the Philippines. He drew special attention of the participating Indian companies towards the ongoing 104 ports projects; 116 airport projects; increasing the length of Philippine Railway Network from 77 Kms to more than 1200 Kms during 2016-22; construction of Metro Manila Subway (first in country); Paranaque Integrated Terminal Exchange (first landport in the country) and container port in Cebu. He said that Philippines will very soon become the “crew change hub of Asia”.
Transport Minister also referred to his recent meeting with Indian Ambassador, and conveyed willingness for an early signing of Air Services Agreement between India and Philippines for enhancing connectivity and mobility of people.
H.E. Ramon M. Lopez, Minister, Department of Trade and Industry appreciated work of GMR Airports in completion of Cebu-Mactan Airport and Clark International Airport in Philippines and invited Indian companies to take an active part in the BBB Program. He also conveyed about the possible negotiation of Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) between India and Philippines for enhanced market access and to make use of numerous mutually beneficial opportunities open to the India and Philippines as economic partners in the Indo-Pacific region.
Ambassador of India to Philippines Mr Shambhu S Kumaran pointed out that the business event was part of the ongoing efforts of deepening of India-Philippines relationship in the context of the new strategic construct of “Indo-Pacific” where both countries are central actors.
The event concluded with the exchange of contact details between the participating Indian companies and the government agencies in Philippines and as an outcome driven business event, is likely to promote greater Indian business participation in the Build, Build, Build Program of Philippines.