PH, Germany to kick off JEC meeting this year

By Kris Crismundo

February 4, 2020, 5:51 pm

<p>DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez</p>

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez

MANILA -- The Philippines and Germany will kick off the Joint Economic Committee (JEC) this year as they seek to strengthen economic ties, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

In a forum of German businessmen Tuesday, Lopez said the first JEC meeting with Germany will happen in Manila in the latter part of this year.

In August 2019, the Philippines and Germany formalized the establishment of a JEC in Berlin. The JEC is a platform for the two countries to strengthen economic engagement.

Lopez said Germany is the Philippines’ eighth top trading partner, and its largest export market in Europe.

Top Philippine exports to Germany include electronic components and semiconductors, as well as agricultural products like tuna and coconut.

Moreover, business confidence of German businesses in the Philippines remains strong, the trade chief said.

Citing the report of 2019 AHK World Business Outlook, more than 70 percent of the respondents considered the business situation in the Philippines as good, with more than two-thirds of the respondents expecting their businesses here to grow in the next 12 months.

“With that in mind, trade and investment engagements between the Philippines and Germany can only grow stronger in the coming decade if we take advantage of these opportunities. This is because Germany has been one of our important trading partners in Europe over the years and continues to be our top source of investments,” Lopez said.

He said approved investments from Germany in the first nine months of 2019 amounted to USD33.1 million from USD7.5 million in the same period in 2018.

Lopez said German small and medium enterprises also realized their potential in the Philippine market by setting up manufacturing operations.

“For example, Knauf Gips produces gypsum boards while Zama Corporation --a subsidiary of Stihl AG-- manufactures carburetors. In recent years, we’ve seen an increase in registrations of Regional Operating Headquarters (ROHQ) from German companies in the field of maritime, construction, and engineering services,” he added. (PNA)