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Monday, June 24, 2024

American firms to invest $1b

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Raimondo: Deals to create training, career jobs for 30m Pinoys

American firms are set to invest over $1 billion (P56 billion) in Philippine priority sectors, US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo said in an official visit to Manila on Monday.

“We estimate that these announcements will create training and career opportunities for about 30 million Filipinos,” Raimondo said.

“The areas where we are focused align perfectly with President Marcos’ vision, about his interest in higher paying jobs in telecommunications, digitalization, helping small and medium-sized companies to digitize. That’s a strong theme of investments that these companies hope to make.”

“The US-Philippine alliance is iron clad. It has been sustained over 72 years, and we remain steadfast friends and increasingly, partners in prosperity,” Raimondo added.

She said US companies are eager to do business in the Philippines not only because of cultural ties or shared democratic values but also because of flourishing economic and commercial bilateral relationships.

Tech providers Microsoft and Google, which have sent representatives to the trade mission led by Raimondo in the Philippines, expressed commitments to upskill more than 100,000 Filipinos for offshored digital jobs.

Microsoft announced its collaboration with various government agencies and financial organizations to streamline citizen services and support the adoption of Copilot for Microsoft 365.

In particular, the tech firm is working closely with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, the Department of Budget and Management, and the Department of Trade and Industry to identify use cases for Microsoft 365 Copilot and develop innovative applications to enhance their service delivery.

Microsoft is also partnering with the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to equip over 100,000 women learners with AI and cybersecurity skills.

Investments on solar panels and nuclear power projects as well as climate goals are of significance to the US trade mission, Raimondo said.

The US government also announced a new airline route that will open up travel and tourism in Cebu.

Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual said the Philippines has yet to tally the final investment commitments after the two-day mission but he expressed optimism that some of these will be implemented soon.

Special Assistant to the President for Investment and Economic Affairs Frederick Go said the Philippines laid on the table several trade deals that have either lapsed or nearing expiry and need to be renegotiated.

“That’s exactly why President Biden has sent me here on the presidential mission to hear from President Marcos and his team what more we can do to facilitate trade and investment between our two countries,” Raimondo said.

The US trade delegation is set to meet with business counterparts today (Tuesday) for B2B negotiations.

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