PH strengthens economic ties with Israel; secures USD 82.9M-worth of investments
BY pushing to deepen economic partnerships with non-traditional trading partners like Israel, the Philippine government identified several business complementarities that resulted in investment pledges, business collaborations, and intentions during the presidential visit last 2-5 September 2018. This strategy to continuously open investments and employment opportunities from non-traditional trading partners has resulted in securing USD 82.9 million-worth of investments from Israel and expected to generate 790 jobs in PH. The signed agreements securing the investments were presented to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on 4 September. “The Philippines is committed to pursue several growth opportunities by strengthening partnerships with emerging economic partners like Israel. Our engagement with them allows us to reinvigorate ties and increase trade between our countries,” said Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez. The business agreements signed consist of three Memoranda of Agreement (MOA), 11 Memoranda of Understanding (MOU), and seven Letters of Intent (LOI). These cover the joint venture agreement between Century Properties Inc. and Globe Invest Ltd. for advanced energy optimization management; agriculture and urban farming; prefabricated housing; water desalination; and master-planned real estate development projects. Armscor Global Defense, Inc. and EMTAN Karmiel Ltd. had a technological agreement to create a local manufacturing facility for weapons under the license from the latter. The MOU covers transfer of know-how in weapon manufacturing. Stone of David Corporation and Gaia Automotive Industries Ltd. signed an agreement to promote tactical vehicles. Stone of David also inked a deal with MCTECH RF Technologies Ltd. for military and intelligence products and hardware development. Century Pacific Food, Inc. and Kvuzat Yavne had an MOU on the distributorship of canned tuna products for the Century brand within Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Other MOUs cover collaborations to explore opportunities on security, intelligence data mining, and information technology. Provision of additional ships and vessels to service PH was also included. Promotion of an all-water route between Port of Subic Bay and Eilat Port was also agreed to support trade and investments as well as develop linkages for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME). MSME cooperation through alliances will also be established to identify business and trade opportunities. Meanwhile, business intentions from Israeli companies include operation expansions in software and systems development, tourism development, food technology, agriculture, and waste water treatment projects. There were also intentions to explore opportunities in manufacturing small arms and ammunitions. The Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA) had an LOI from FoodLab Capital, which covers the building of a FoodTech Acceleration Center within the Cagayan Special Economic Zone and Freeport (CSEZFP) to service the food industry locators of CEZA. Sec Raul L. Lambino of CEZA joined the signing ceremonies. There were also intentions from Assuta Medical Center and I-DEA Ventures Group Inc. to build a medical facility within the area to service the medical needs of locators. The PH business delegation to Israel consists of representatives from Integrated Computer Systems Inc., AMA Education System, Le Soleil Shipping Agencies, Inc., KEREM IT Solutions, Amdocs Philippines, Ltd., Rayo Illuminar Corporation, Philippine Center For Entrepreneurship Foundation - Go Negosyo, Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority. Israeli companies present during the signing include: Verint Systems Ltd., Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce, Eilat Port Company Ltd., HackerU, ZIM Integrated Shipping Services Ltd., EMTAN Karmiel Ltd., Carbyne Ltd., SuperCom, Silver Shadow Advanced Security Systems, TrueLogic Online Solutions, Inc., MIMA TECH, FlyEast, Federation of Israeli Chambers of Commerce, and Israel-Philippines Chamber of Commerce. “These agreements are clear indication of the enormous business and investment opportunities in the Philippines available to Israelis,” said PH’s trade chief. Israel is known for high technology industries in agriculture (technology-oriented farming, drip irrigation, milk production), cyber security, IT big data, AI technologies, electronics, and water management (including desalination and recycling). Israel is also known for vibrant start-up community. According to Secretary Lopez, Israel’s start up ecosystem can provide PH an example in aligning policies towards development of this emerging industry. “Our strategy should emphasize the ingenuity and creativity of Filipinos, which will result to a synchronized PH information and technology roadmap,” he added.