Philippine firms have secured US$82.9 million in investment deals with Israeli companies from President Rodrigo Duterte’s historic official visit to Israel, according to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez.
Israeli online newspaper, Haaretz.com, reported that Filipino and Israeli businessmen signed seven letters of intent, 11 memoranda of understanding, and three memoranda of agreement during a business forum that President Duterte attended on September 4.
Strengthening Ties through Trade and Investment
In a meeting with Israeli President Reuven Rivlin before the forum, President Duterte said the Philippines would like to strengthen its relationship with Israel, especially in trade and investments. The investment commitments covered different industries such as shipping, information technology, tourism, development, and arms manufacturing. These deals are expected to generate 790 jobs for Filipinos.
During the signing of agreements, President Duterte emphasized his administration’s commitment to bring reforms that will make the Philippines more suitable for business.
Meanwhile, Secretary Lopez said, through the Philippine News Agency, “The Philippines is committed to (pursuing) several growth opportunities by strengthening partnerships with emerging economic partners like Israel. Our engagement with them allows us to reinvigorate ties and increase trade between our countries,” he said.
The secretary added that the Philippines is looking at Israeli-developed technologies that will benefit the agriculture sector, particularly farming, drip irrigation, and water management. The country is also eyeing artificial intelligence and electronic technologies developed by Israeli companies.
Apart from bringing home 21 investment deals, President Duterte’s 4-day official visit to the State of Israel is momentous in and of itself. He is the first Philippine president who visited the Holy Land.
Before leaving on September 2, Duterte said in a televised speech, “I leave today for landmark visits that underscore a vision of our country to be a responsible member of the world community, a Philippines that is a friend to all and enemy to no one.”