April 24, 2024

US Government Commits to a $1 Billion Investment by US Companies in the Philippines

The US Commerce Secretary, Gina Raimondo, claims US companies will invest over $1 billion in the Philippines.

Raimondo made the remarks during an official visit to the Philippines, where he is heading a trade and investment mission. The two-day mission is the first of its kind in the Philippines.

Some top US companies in the delegation include United Airlines, Google, Visa, and Microsoft. In total, 22 companies were represented by their executives during the mission in the Philippines.

US Wants To Improve Trade with the Philippines

Raimondo has affirmed that the US plans to expand trade relations with the Philippines. To achieve this, it plans to improve the trading and investment conditions. It also plans to expand its regional presence using the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework.

“On this trip alone, these companies are announcing over $1 billion of US investments, including educational [and training] opportunities to over 30 million Filipinos in the form of digital upskilling, artificial intelligence (AI) upskilling, and digital training,” Raimondo said.

US companies are planning to make investments in Manila span areas such as solar energy, electric vehicles, and digitization. Last week, the US announced plans to start new flights between Tokyo-Narita and Cebu from July 31.

According to a local publication, one of the deals powered by the agreement is an initiative by Microsoft. The tech giant plans to launch a chat box tool and set up proof of concepts using the Open AI service.

Microsoft also plans to work with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA) to train 100,000 women in the Phillippines. It intends to empower them in areas such as AI, cybersecurity, and AI.

Raimondo also announced plans to set up an electric vehicle education centre to train people in the Phillippines. This center will train people in the Phillippines on solar and nuclear projects to help attain energy and climate goals.

An Ironclad Partnership

Raimondo has also referred to the partnership between the US and the Phillippines as “ironclad.” The Phillippines is among the oldest treaty allies of the US. It holds a 73-year-old mutual defence treaty with the US.

She noted that after the Filipino President had reiterated that he could not “imagine the Philippines future without the close bond with the United States.”

Raimondo also expressed confidence in the Initial Trade Mission, saying it would jumpstart the next wave and power new and exciting economic deals.

The efforts to improve economic ties with the Philippines come as the US also seeks to bolster cooperation in the defense sector.

The US President, Joe Biden, and the Philippine President, Ferdinand Marcos Jr., have been increasing their defense cooperation amid aggressive actions by China in the South China Sea and near Taiwan.

Raimondo affirmed that the US did not have plans to decouple from China despite tensions. However, it said that the Chinese government would not be granted access to any advanced technology promoted by Washington.

According to the Commerce Secretary, protecting Americans was of utmost priority. As such, sensitive technologies such as semiconductor technology and artificial intelligence that the US has but China does not have would be protected to avoid enabling the Chinese military.

Following the press conference between Raimondo, US company representatives, and Philippine delegates, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed.

The signees, Asian Development Bank, Apl.de.Ap Foundation, and International Legacy EV agreed to collaborate on e-mobility and sustainable development initiatives in the Philippines.


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