US Commerce Secretary Announces Over $1 Billion Investment in Philippines, Signals Strengthened Economic and Strategic Ties

Last Updated on March 16, 2024 5:37 am

In a landmark move bolstering economic cooperation and strategic partnership, United States Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo unveiled plans for US companies to invest over $1 billion in the Philippines during her official visit to Manila.

Raimondo’s visit marks the initiation of a two-day trade and investment mission, representing the first of its kind for the Philippines. Accompanied by a delegation comprising executives from 22 prominent companies including United Airlines, Google, Visa, KKR Asia Pacific, and Microsoft, Raimondo emphasized the significance of these investments spanning key sectors such as solar energy, electric vehicles, and digitization.

The announcement comes on the heels of United Airlines’ declaration last week regarding the launch of new flights from Tokyo-Narita to Cebu, Philippines, commencing on July 31, further underscoring the momentum in US-Philippines economic ties.

However, beyond economic interests, Raimondo highlighted the strategic alignment between the US and the Philippines, particularly in the face of growing regional challenges. Both countries share concerns over China’s assertive actions in the South China Sea and near Taiwan, prompting a concerted effort to deepen cooperation not only in economic matters but also in defense.

Addressing a joint briefing with Philippine officials following discussions with President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. at the presidential palace, Raimondo reaffirmed Washington’s commitment to expanding trade and investment in the Philippines, extending this commitment to the broader Indo-Pacific region through the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, a coalition of 14 nations led by the US.

While emphasizing the importance of maintaining economic engagement with China, Raimondo reiterated the need to safeguard critical technologies from falling into the wrong hands. She clarified that while the US does not seek “decoupling” from China, it remains vigilant in protecting its advanced technologies, crucial for national security.

Echoing Raimondo’s sentiments, the US reaffirmed its enduring alliance with the Philippines, describing it as “ironclad.” With a 73-year-old mutual defense treaty, the Philippines stands as Washington’s oldest treaty ally in the Asia-Pacific region, underscoring the depth of their strategic partnership.

Following her engagements in Manila, Raimondo is scheduled to visit Thailand for two days of meetings aimed at identifying opportunities for bilateral cooperation, particularly in areas such as manufacturing and supply chain resilience. The visit signifies the US administration’s commitment to fortifying partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region, fostering economic prosperity, and ensuring regional stability.

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