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Philippines, Canada Agree To Enhance Trade, Investments

The Philippines and Canada have committed to enhance bilateral trade and investment relations through the conduct of business missions. In a joint statement issued on March 20, Canada’s Minister of International Trade Ed Fast and Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo said they met in Manila “to discuss the potential for enhanced bilateral trade and investment relations between our two countries.”

Apart from enhancing trade, the two governments also discussed ways to build on the their current commercial relationship that is already supported by existing agreements such as a double taxation agreement, an investment promotion and protection agreement, and a recently expanded air transportation agreement.

“We are committed to exploring ways to deepen and modernize our trade, investments and collaboration partnerships in areas of common interest, such as agrifood, transport, energy, infrastructure, education, defense and security. We also made a commitment to resolve a number of market access issues in a timely fashion,” the trade officials said.

To start the exchange of missions, Fast is expected  to return to the Philippines in May with a Canadian business delegation. Domingo, meanwhile, plans to visit Canada with several Philippine company representatives.

During Fast’s visit to the Philippines last year, he said the Philippines has been identified as a priority emerging market under the Global Markets Action Plan (GMAP) of Canada.

Under the GMAP, Canada will concentrate its efforts on markets that are seen to provide potential for Canadian businesses through active trade promotion. The designation of the Philippines as a priority emerging market under the GMAP of Canada is seen as a positive step towards a progressive bilateral relationship.

As the Philippines is the chair and host of this year’s Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation meetings, the country also shares Canada’s commitment to promoting the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in the global economy.

In 2013, bilateral  trade of Canada and the Philip – pines was valued at  $1.7 billion. Minister Fast’s mission follows the visit by Prime Minister Harper to the Philippines in November 2012, and the meeting between the two leaders on the margins of APEC in November 2014.

“We also discussed ways to build on our current commercial relationship, which is already supported by existing agreements, such as a double taxation agreement, an investment promotion and protection agreement, and a recently expanded air transportation agreement,” the two ministers stated.

“In order to increase business opportunities in each other’s market, we committed to leading trade missions—starting with Minister Fast’s return mission to the Philippines in May with a Canadian business delegation and a potential visit to Canada by Secretary Domingo accompanied by a number of Philippine company representatives. The Philippines participated in an ASEAN trade mission to Canada, in June 2014,” according to the joint statement.