PH eyes expanded trade, tourism with India

By Leslie Gatpolintan

July 24, 2018, 4:13 pm

MANILA -- Philippine Ambassador to India Teresita Daza expects that relations between the Philippines and India will grow as the two countries explore fresh opportunities in trade, education and tourism.

Daza said a group of Filipino businessmen visited New Delhi to scout for market opportunities in food, clothing and personal care products.

The Philippines' Department of Trade and Industry conducted an outbound business matching mission to New Delhi, India from July 16 to 21.

“These are new (ones), they are trying to come in. They are looking for possible partners, distributors,” she said in an interview Thursday with the Philippines News Agency (PNA) in New Delhi.

Daza said she hoped for deepening trade relations between the two countries.

“The fact is, there is so much room for improvement for trade. Right now, India is doing very well in terms of trading with us. The balance of trade is in favor of India largely because they are actually selling us more. We need to do more in terms of selling. But that is moving and we hope that will continue. We are targeting a more balanced trade between the two countries,” she noted.

Data indicated that Philippine exports to India valued at USD509.3 million in 2017 from previous year’s USD315.1 million.

Philippine imports from India, on the other hand, reached USD1.64 billion last year from USD1.52 billion in 2016.

Apart from trade, Daza said Philippines is also looking for enhanced ties with India in tourism and education sectors.

“It seems that tourism was doing very well, we had a two-digit increase in terms of tourist arrivals. From the 13th spot, India now is in the 12th. About a hundred thousand plus Indians have actually travelled to the Philippines. We do know that with the direct flights, that would hopefully be increased,” she said.

To attract more tourists, the ambassador said the Philippines is promoting several types of tourism.

These include incentive travel for well-performing employees; family tour packages; meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (MICE); weddings; and film tourism, she said.

Daza further said the two countries can also forge stronger ties in education within the ambit of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) bloc.

“The usual area of cooperation where what is needed is proximity (is) connectivity. If we do not have that, there will be other areas. I think it’s on the people-to-people exchanges where we can actually look and see how we can strengthen –that’s ASEAN,” she added. (PNA)