MY TWO CENTS’: Why the Korean visit is a hopeful one

My Two Cents by John Tria
My Two Cents by John T

The historic visit of President Duterte to Korea bodes very well for our exports, as it ” reinvigorates” our trade relations with the east asian country.

As many know, we import five times as much as we export to Korea in the total annual trade of about 4.8 B dollars. This makes our trade relations lopsided in their favor. This visit is a chance to improve these relations.

The CNN Philippines report outlines the four major bilateral agreements signed between both countries:

  • A Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Transportation (DOTr) and South Korea’s Ministry of Land, Industry and Transport.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding on scientific and technological cooperation between the Department of Science and Technology and South Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning.
  • A loan agreement on the new Cebu International Container Port project between the Department of Finance (DOF) and Export-Import Bank of Korea.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on trade and economic cooperation.

A particularly interesting outcome of the bilateral meetings  between Korea and the Philippines for Mindanao was the renewal of the Joint Commission for Trade and Economic Cooperation where tariff concerns can be discussed and addressed.

This can lead to lower tariffs and bigger market access for our agricultural products such as bananas, pineapples and mangoes.

Eventually, we get good deals for our Cacao and Coffee products, even meat and poultry, which are grown in our areas. Being prime exports, thy generate local jobs and increase over all food production, which in turn, can keep prices stable.

These commodities are vital for the Korean economy, which is growing and will grow even more if unification talks with Communist North Korea succeed.

This dovetails on the new Korean Southward policy will bring unexpected bemefits for many ASEAN countries, as Korea will mount its own offensive to strengthen Asian ties particularly with the Philippines, its closest ASEAN neighbor. After Japans ” kitchen diplomacy” and Chinas Xi Jin Ping ramping up southeast asian relations with China via the One Belt One road initiative.