Philippine President hopes for enhanced ties with Korea

2024.05.03 09:25:02 | 2024.05.03 14:42:41

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (right) gives a tour to Maekyung Media Group Chairman Chang Dae-whan of the Malaca?ang Presidential Palace in Manila. The book in Mr. Marcos Jr.‘s left hand is an album with photographs of their late fathers taken together. [Photo by Han Joo-hyung]이미지 확대

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (right) gives a tour to Maekyung Media Group Chairman Chang Dae-whan of the Malaca?ang Presidential Palace in Manila. The book in Mr. Marcos Jr.‘s left hand is an album with photographs of their late fathers taken together. [Photo by Han Joo-hyung]



Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday expressed hopes for an early ratification of the Korea-Philippines Free Trade Agreement (FTA), a move that will foster diverse economic cooperation between the two countries.

In a meeting with Maekyung Media Group Chairman Chang Dae-whan at the Malaca?ang Palace in Manila, the Philippines, President Marcos Jr. expected an influx of Korean companies into the Philippines as bilateral exchanges between the two nations intensify.

He expressed determination to create a business-friendly environment akin to other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Korea and the Philippines signed a bilateral free trade agreement in September 2023. The pact is pending ratification by the Philippine Senate and the Korea’s National Assembly.

As of 2022, bilateral trade between the two nations reached $17.5 billion, ranking fifth among ASEAN countries. Korea has signed FTAs with Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, and Indonesia.

In his first interview with a Korean media outlet, President Marcos Jr. stressed the need for increased personnel exchanges and diversified cooperation in strategic sectors between the two nations, highlighting the similarities and areas of mutual complementarity between the two countries.

The Philippines is the largest importer of automobiles among ASEAN. With the FTA signed, the Korean government anticipates significant benefits for its automobile and auto parts industries, including the immediate abolition of the current 5 percent tariff on Korean automobiles and a gradual phase-out, over five years, of the 3-30 percent tariff on auto parts. Korea also anticipates an expansion in processed and agricultural product exports.

President Marcos Jr. also commemorated the 75th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

Recalling that the Philippines was the first ASEAN nation to establish diplomatic relations with Korea, he expressed hope for fruitful achievements through the Philippines‘ “Build Better More” infrastructure project this year.

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (left) shakes hands with Maekyung Media Group Chairman Chang Dae-whan at the Malaca?ang Presidential Palace in Manila on Wednesday (local time). [Photo by Han Joo-hyung]이미지 확대

Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. (left) shakes hands with Maekyung Media Group Chairman Chang Dae-whan at the Malaca?ang Presidential Palace in Manila on Wednesday (local time). [Photo by Han Joo-hyung]



Since assuming office in June 2022, President Marcos Jr. has prioritized infrastructure development under the slogan “Bagong Pilipinas,” or “construction of a new Philippines,” aiming to upgrade underdeveloped facilities and bolster the foundation for economic growth.

President Marcos Jr.’s infrastructure initiatives have already shown positive results.

In February, Incheon International Airport Corp. was awarded the Ninoy Aquino International Airport project. This 25-year project from 2024 to 2049 will involve the operation, maintenance, expansion, and improvement of the airport, with an estimated cumulative revenue of $27.5 billion and a total project cost of about $3 billion, making it the largest overseas project awarded by Incheon International Airport.

President Marcos Jr. also expressed interest in the Panay-Guimaras-Negros (PGN) bridges project jointly pursued by both nations, acknowledging Korean support for its progress.

This infrastructure endeavor aims to connect over 7,600 islands of Panay, Guimaras, and Negros with bridges spanning a total of 32.47 kilometers. It is considered a significant project for the Philippines and is one of the largest supported projects by the Korea Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF).

He also addressed the recent spike in Korean fruit prices, suggesting Philippine fruits as a viable alternative. He expressed his intention to expand related infrastructure, including refrigerated transport and global shipping networks, to facilitate trade.

[Photo by Han Joo-hyung]이미지 확대

[Photo by Han Joo-hyung]



[Photo by Han Joo-hyung]이미지 확대

[Photo by Han Joo-hyung]



[Photo by Han Joo-hyung]이미지 확대

[Photo by Han Joo-hyung]



[Photo by Han Joo-hyung]이미지 확대

[Photo by Han Joo-hyung]



[Photo by Han Joo-hyung]이미지 확대

[Photo by Han Joo-hyung]

By Jang Yong-seung, Shin Chan-oak, Shin Yoon-jae and Chang Iou-chung

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