Davao biz leaders upbeat over Biden presidency

Business thinktanks in Davao City are expecting stronger trade and export sectors between the Philippines and United States after Joseph Biden Jr. was elected 46th US president last Saturday. 

The U.S Embassy in the Philippines reported that the United States is among the Philippines’ top trading partners, and it traditionally has been the Philippines’ largest foreign investor. Two-way goods and services trade between the United States and the Philippines totaled to $24 billion in 2013 (latest available data. Data source here and below: US Census Bureau).

It also reported that the Philippines was the United States’ 33rd largest merchandise export market in 2014 and its 34th largest supplier. Goods exports to the Philippines totaled $8.5 billion in 2013; goods imports totaled $10.2 billion. Trade in services with the Philippines (exports and imports) totaled $6.3 billion in 2013 (latest data available). U.S. exports of agricultural products to the Philippines totaled $2.7 billion, the 9th largest U.S. agricultural export market. U.S. foreign direct investment (FDI) in the Philippines was $4.4 billion in 2013 (latest data available).

Former Mindanao Business Council (MBC) chair Joji Ilagan-Bian

Former Mindanao Business Council (MBC) chair Joji Ilagan-Bian said the Biden presidency  may be good for the Philippines’ export sector as this may lead to increased trade volume since the Philippine is one of the largest trading partner of US .

“We can also expect an increase in international aid which we at Mindanao can benefit from. We know that in the past our region has been a beneficiary of these international aids which led to better infrastructure and increased investments,” Bian said.

Bian also does not see a significant change in the relationship between Philippines and the US, considering the Philippines is the one of the US’ oldest trading partners in Asia.

“We have always been a strong and close ally of US and I am confident that a change in US presidency will not affect our very stable relationship,” she said.

Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) regional governor Arturo Milan

Arturo Milan, regional governor of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), is also optimistic that that the election of Biden as new US President will not change the country’s relationship with US including trade because of the strategic location of the Philippines in the Asia Pacific Region.

On his end, Antonio Peralta, chairman of the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines-Southern Mindanao Business Council (ECCP-SMBC), is hopeful that the emergence of a new leadership in the United States can stem the tide of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has now reached over 100,000 infections a day (cumulative total of over 10 million) with casualties hitting over 240,000 since March this year.

“I think that Biden’s election will be good for the United States and the world in general. He has already stated about reverting to the commitments that the United States has made to the Paris Agreements on Climate Change, a stronger and focused approach towards addressing the current pandemic situation in the US, a return to their membership in the World Health Organization (WHO) and yes to resume playing a more active role in the Global Community as seen from the response of the world leaders on his election,” he said.

European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines-Southern Mindanao Business Council (ECCP-SMBC) chairman Antonio Peralta

Peralta also said that the renewal of the participation of the United States in world affairs augurs well in maintaining a balance of power between China and Russia and the world as a whole.

“Economically, this can translate to a more unified approach to hastening economic growth amidst the damage brought about by the pandemic,” he said.

Honorary Consul of New Zealand in Mindanao Vicente Lao

Honorary Consul of New Zealand in Mindanao Vicente Lao, who is also chair of the Mindanao Business Council, welcomed the Biden administration as a good sign for the international community.

“Because there will be lessening of political and economic tensions between the US and China and the rest of the world,” he said.

It can be recalled that tensions between the United States and China are flaring over the coronavirus, which the Trump administration accuses China of failing to control.

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