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Presidential Trade and Investment Mission: Partnering with the U.S. Private Sector to Deepen U.S.-Philippine Commercial Ties

MANILA, Philippines – From March 11-12, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo led a delegation of senior executives from 22 prominent U.S. businesses and non-profit organizations on a first-of-its-kind Presidential Trade and Investment Mission to the Philippines. The Mission delivers on President Biden’s commitment during Philippine President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s May 2023 visit to Washington, D.C. to work together to advance U.S.-Philippines economic ties and internationally recognized labor rights.  

“I’m deeply appreciative of the opportunity to lead this Presidential Trade and Investment Mission on behalf of President Biden to demonstrate the innovation and possibilities that come from partnering with American companies,” said Secretary Raimondo. “The Indo-Pacific includes some of the most dynamic economies in the world. It was an honor to lead the first-ever trade mission of this nature to the Philippines and to underscore the immense potential, which is evident in the more than $1 billion of investments from this mission alone. We share an important relationship with the Philippines and I believe the work we accomplished over these last few days will make our partnership even stronger.”

While in the Philippines, Secretary Raimondo reaffirmed the importance the United States places on a strong bilateral trade and investment relationship between the two countries. She commended the Philippine government for recent legal and regulatory reforms undertaken to open key sectors such as renewable energy, railways, airports, expressways, and telecommunications to 100 percent foreign ownership. She encouraged both the U.S. and Philippine private sectors and Philippine government to capitalize on the historic momentum in U.S.-Philippine relations and to seize new opportunities related to clean energy, digital transformation and the innovation economy, and supply chain resilience. Secretary Raimondo was joined on this Mission by U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson, U.S. Ambassador and Director of the Asian Development Bank Chantale Wong, and Commander of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command Admiral John Aquilino.   

Together, delegates participating in the Mission have announced over $1 billion of recently-completed or anticipated U.S. investments, creating educational and career opportunities for an estimated over 30 million Filipinos. 

  • The Apl.de.Ap Foundation International (APLFI), led by Filipino-American Apl.de.Ap from the Black Eyed Peas, is launching the Philippines’ first Electric Mobility Education and Development Center in partnership with Legacy EV from Phoenix, AZ, and supported by a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that APLFI and Legacy EV signed on March 11 in Manila with the Asian Development Bank. The center will provide comprehensive training in electric vehicle (EV) technology, repair, maintenance, and the installation and operation of charging infrastructure.
  • Google is rolling out Google Career Certificates in 50 Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) virtual campuses covering over 1,300 DTI Negosyo Centers in 16 regions nationwide. Separately, Google is on target to complete the TPU (Taiwan-Philippines-United States) subsea cable system by the end of 2025.
  • InnovationForce is in talks to form a new partnership with the Philippines’ largest owner and operator of renewable energy, AboitizPower. This partnership will allow AboitizPower to leverage InnovationForce’s platform to accelerate, scale, and grow innovation to continue leading the clean energy transition. It will also create additional opportunities for innovative U.S. technology exports to be discovered by AboitizPower.
  • KKR – as part of its investment in Pinnacle Towers, which is the largest independent telecom tower operator in the Philippines – expects to continue investing approximately $400 million in the platform, including plans to develop and acquire roughly 2,000 towers to support digital connectivity across the Philippines. KKR continues to be highly attracted to the dynamic Philippines market and looks to do more to support national infrastructure and development priorities.
  • Mastercard announced a new partnership with Boost Capital – a white labelled tech platform – to empower over 10,000 Filipino small business owners with access to digital financial services and credit, along with financial literacy training. The collaboration will scale Boost Capital’s proprietary technology to financial service providers, equipping them with AI tools and alternative data that can be used to better meet the needs of underserved small businesses. This builds on two years of work through the Mastercard Strive program, which enabled access to a wide range of e-learning content to bolster Filipino small businesses.  
  • Microsoft is working with the Central Bank of the Philippines and the Philippines Government’s Departments of Budget and Management (DBM) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to identify how Microsoft 365 Copilot chatbot tool, as well as Azure OpenAI, capabilities can boost the agencies’ productivity and better serve citizens. Through partnerships being launched during this Mission, Microsoft and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority are also helping to train 100,000 Philippine women and thousands more job seekers in AI skills, while the Department of Education is deploying Microsoft’s AI-powered literacy tool to 27 million Philippine students. Through a new partnership with Unconnected.org, Microsoft will help bring internet access to 1 million people across the Philippines. Finally, Microsoft is rolling out new cybersecurity services to safeguard the integrity of electoral processes.
  • Sol-Go is investing in solar panel production that will further elevate the Philippines as a hub for high tech manufacturing and provides the United States with a reliable partner to produce lightweight solar panels. From their initial half-million dollar investment in Lipa City, Sol-Go aims to achieve 15-megawatt capacity within the next few months and is planning an additional investment of $5 million to reach 100-megawatt capacity in 2025-6.  
  • UltraPass ID signed an agreement on March 12 with the Philippine DBM, under which the DBM will identify specific ICT projects for UltraPass’s Decentralized Trust Platform for biometric authentication and data sharing within government applications. UltraPass ID also signed an agreement on March 12 with the  Philippines’ NOW Corporation to utilize UltraPass ID’s biometric authentication in ICT systems across Asia, complementing NOW Corporation’s grant from the U.S. Trade and Development Agency to develop reliable and secure nationwide 5G mobile and broadband networks in the Philippines.
  • Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation is working with the Philippine utility company Meralco on a carbon-free electrical generation system. They are expected to launch a new phase of electricity generation in the Philippines using Ultra Safe’s advanced nuclear battery. Ultra Safe has delivered an initial project assessment to Meralco, showcasing how to integrate Ultra Safe’s nuclear solutions for clean energy production. Groundbreaking is scheduled for 2028.  
  • United Airlines announced it will expand its presence in the Philippines through new year-round, non-stop service from Cebu to Tokyo (Narita International Airport), starting July 31. This makes United the only U.S. carrier to offer daily flights to Cebu. United is also the only U.S. carrier to offer direct transpacific service to the Philippines with its daily flight between San Francisco and Manila, which includes 350 daily seats each way and expects 225,000 passengers annually. United also serves Manila from Guam and Palau.  
  • UPS announced its plans to provide skills training to 500 Philippines-based small and medium sized company representatives to help strengthen supply chain resilience. The capacity building program will introduce the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Supply Chain Resilience Toolkit established during the U.S. APEC Host Year in 2023 to help small businesses self-assess their strengths and vulnerabilities benchmarking against industry best practices. First piloted in Cebu, Philippines, in 2023, the ABAC Supply Chain Resilience Toolkit was developed to better prepare businesses for future external shocks such as the COVID-19 pandemic. The capacity building program will be led by UPS and industry supply chain experts in partnership with the US-ASEAN Business Council. It will offer practical recommendations for ways to improve the five dimensions of supply chain resilience: flexibility, connectivity, visibility, robustness, and redundancy.
  • The US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC) will hold its annual Philippines Business Mission from May 20-23, 2024. Over the course of three days, the mission will bring together the best of the U.S. private sector and the highest levels of Philippine government officials in focused and engaging dialogues on key priorities and collaboration opportunities. Celebrating its 40th year, the USABC continues to serve as one of the leading advocacy organizations for U.S. corporations operating within the ASEAN region.
  • Visa announced its recently signed two-year MOU with the Philippine Trade Training Center, the training division of DTI. This partnership is a key element of Visa’s digitalization efforts in the Philippines, designed to empower and educate Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with financial and business literacy, and deliver on Visa’s $100 million pledge to upskill MSMEs in APEC developing economies. Visa is proud to help uplift communities in the Philippines and Asia Pacific by boosting their digital economies and helping small businesses thrive.

While the Mission included only 22 delegation members, the U.S. Department of Commerce has welcomed coordination with non-Mission businesses to highlight their announcements and the many contributions that U.S. companies are making to the Philippine economy. Other recently-announced projects include: 

  • Ally Power, a Maryland startup, announced a more than $400 million agreement with MPower (the Philippines’ largest electric retail supplier) to collaborate and build a hydrogen and electric refueling station. This station will produce hydrogen, electricity, and sodium aluminate to support the Philippines’ energy security and climate change agenda. Ally Power and Meralco Power Academy (a local thought leader in energy education and consulting) will work alongside the University of the Philippines through a Center of Excellence to promote breakthrough American renewable energy technologies.
  • Meta has invested in the Pacific Light Cable Network international submarine cable system, which is supporting the Philippine government’s new National Fiber Backbone Phase 1. This project will connect the United States with locations on the Philippine island of Luzon, the most populous island and home to Manila, and will be launched on March 25.  

Vita Coco announced the expansion of their partnership with Century Pacific Food, Inc., one of the largest branded food companies in the Philippines, creating 1,500 new jobs. Under their Seedlings for Sustainability initiative, Vita Coco has committed to support the planting of up to 10 million tree seedlings in its sourcing communities over the next 7-10 years. with a significant focus on the Philippines.

Originally posted at https://www.commerce.gov/news/press-releases/2024/03/presidential-trade-and-investment-mission-partnering-us-private-sector

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