President Rodrigo Duterte assured Korean traders of their protection and granting of other privileges if their investments and operations in the country expand. 

The two countries have signed a defense cooperation which aimed at giving more opportunity to Korean firms of government-to-government projects under the military upgrade program of Manila. 

According to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Duterte on Monday made the commitment to officials and representatives of Daesung, Hyundai Engineering and Construction Co. Ltd., Developer City Co. Ltd., (DCC), JS Development Corp., Korea Overseas Investment and Urban Development, LG CNS, Pan Co. Ltd., Dohwa, Dae II Corp. and Zein Motor. 

“He assured protection, ease of doing business, no delay in permits and full guarantee of their… return of investments and remittances,” Lopez said. 

Duterte told  the Korean investors that the Philippines wants continuous growth but does not have funds to maintain it. He told them that foreign investments could play a significant role in filling in that gap. 

Moreover, Lopez said that several businesses have shown their interests in investing in the country, even encouraged by the Build Build Build infrastructure program of the government. 

“Some (companies) are existing and expanding. Others planning to come in,” he said. 

The bilateral agreement also included a commitment of the two countries working together for a free trade by next year. 

The Philippines and South Korea both believe in the need of opening the commodities market as soon as possible. Also, they vowed their cooperation in achieving substantive progress in the trade talks. 

Manila and Seoul’s trade volume as of the end of 2018 totaled $15.6 billion. 

Before Duterte’s meetings in South Korea, his former visit for bilateral agreements was in Russia, which also mainly aimed to increase the trade and investments between the two. 

READ: PH may push for visa-free entry to South Korea


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