THE governments of the Philippines and Chile are seeking stronger collaboration by signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the establishment of a joint economic cooperation (JEC) between the two countries.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said its undersecretary for Industry Development and Trade Policy Group, Ceferino Rodolfo, and Rodrigo Yáñez, vice minister for trade of Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, virtually signed the MoU.
The MOU represents the first trade and investment mechanism of the Philippines to formally engage with the South American region, according to DTI.
“The JEC will serve as a confidence building measure to further intensify the bilateral economic linkages while addressing the challenges posed by geographic distance and generally low-level of awareness by businesses in each other’s markets,” Rodolfo explained.
He added the JEC will be a “tool for engagement on enhancing current levels of trade and investments, discussing various cooperation initiatives in areas of mutual interest and promoting better synergies with businesses.”
For his part, Yáñez underscored Chile’s commitment to “build on the historic and friendly relations and begin a new stage of active collaboration toward achieving a mutually beneficial relationship with the Philippines.”
Meanwhile, Chilean Ambassador to the Philippines Claudio Rojas stressed the importance of the newly established JEC “to address and to tackle the overall assessment of economic and trade issues in the areas of trade facilitation, trade promotion, and investment, and could produce a profound impact in the overall relationship between Chile and the Philippines.”
The Philippines and Chile agreed to convene the first Philippines-Chile JEC within the year to sustain the momentum of bilateral discussions. Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez first proposed the establishment of a JEC in May 2018 as a framework for engagement, emphasizing that this will serve as a building block toward enhanced relations.
During the event, Rodolfo also expressed the Philippines’ interest to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). To recall, Lopez has formally written to New Zealand as the depositary of the agreement, inquiring about the process of accession.
Yáñez conveyed Chile’s support for the Philippines’ accession to the CPTPP and shared that Chile is ratifying the agreement through its legislative body. He noted their technical team will be available to guide and assist the Philippines in the process.