Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez has urged Korea to buy more from the Philippines to address trade imbalance between the two countries, as well as study the possibility of expanding production facilities here.
During Korea Importers Association (KOIMA) Philippines-Korea Business Forum, Lopez said the country currently is the biggest supplier of bananas and pineapples in Korea; while fresh mango, calamansi, coconut water, virgin coconut oil, and banana chips are “very popular” with Koreans.
He encouraged Korea to consider purchasing other Philippine food goods like canned tuna, chicken, and dried fruits; and design-driven products.
“We are also pushing for organic and natural products like food and health care products, as well as design-driven products like furniture as well as garments and chemicals as well. For your consideration as well are electronic parts and components, and software and game development, among others,” he said.
As of 2018, Korea is the Philippines’ fourth largest trading partner, its eighth top export market, and the second top source of imports.
“With your support, we hope to bolster our exports, which would generate more jobs and employment for our people. It would also help address the trade imbalance between our two countries,” he added.
The Trade chief also asked Korean firms to study the possibility of expanding their production facilities in the Philippines.
“This would not only sustain Philippine exports to your country while integrating them into your value chains, it would also allow you to capture the Philippine market of more than 100 million. And considering our trade links to ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nation), this would give you additional access to the ASEAN market of more than 650 million,” he added.
Lopez identified some of the priority sectors that Koreans can invest in, including food production and processing, agribusiness, and manufacturing.
“Other sectors that may interest you would be those sectors involved in the Build, Build, Build (infrastructure program) –the finance and banking, infrastructure, tourism industry and real estate, among others,” he said.