PH seeks to expand economic cooperation with New Zealand
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines wants to expand economic cooperation with New Zealand in various areas, including infrastructure and public-private partnership projects (PPPs), Malacañang said on Thursday night, November 19.
President Benigno Aquino III conveyed this to New Zealand Prime Minister John Key during their bilateral meeting.
"President Aquino said the Philippines wishes to expand economic cooperation in the areas of electronics and electrical equipment, automotive parts, IT-BPM and engineering services, and infrastructure and PPP projects," Palace Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr said in a note sent to reporters.
He said that two leaders noted that bilateral trade between their countries increased by 6.4% to $553 million in 2014, while investments from New Zealand approved by Philippine investment promotion agencies "increased significantly by 71% in the same year."
Aquino also told Key that the Philippines is launching "intensive stakeholder consultations to address potential challenges and prepare specific sectors to optimize opportunities presented by the eventual flourishing" of the Trans-Pacific Partnership."
"He expressed the hope that New Zealand will support the Philippines’ possible accession to the Agreement," Coloma said.
Coloma said the President thanked Key for New Zealand’s support to the Philippines disaster risk reduction and management efforts through its assistance to a capacity building program for cities and municipalities and contributions to the Philippine Red Cross.
"The two leaders expressed their shared hopes that a universal and binding climate change agreement will be reached during the COP21 meeting in Paris," he said.
The President also reaffirmed the Philippines’ commitment to its defense cooperation agreement with New Zealand, which the two countries signed during Aquino’s state visit to New Zealand in 2012.
The agreement aimed to convene senior officials and military representatives, conduct education and training exercises, capacity building, and information exchange.
The Philippine leader also sought the support of Key for the possible entry of the Philippines in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a free trade agreement between 12 Pacific Rim countries.
Aquino had earlier asked for the support of other TPP members such as the US, Canada, and Vietnam.
He also took the opportunity to thank Key for the scholarship grants given to Filipinos in the field of geothermal energy, noting that these scholars are now contributing to the Department of Energy.
Aquino further thanked the Kiwi leader for his nation’s assistance in the local dairy industry and the disaster risk reduction and management efforts. – Rappler.com