PEZA PLAN, BUSINESS EXCHANGES
Explore opportunities in industries that can benefit from business exchanges between the Philippines and Russia.
Glenn Soco, president of the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry, made this call as he, together with other local business leaders, welcomed the Philippine Economic Zone Authority’s (Peza) plan to tap Russian investors in a bid to diversify the mix of foreign investments in the country’s economic zones.
Soco said this is a good move on the part of Peza.
“This is also very strategic on the part of Mandaue Chamber and the business community because of our existing ties with Vladivostok (a city in Russia),” he said in a text message to Cebu Daily News.
He cited the business exchanges between both countries, including those in the furniture and handicraft sector – industries that local stakeholders can explore and develop.
“We just need to expand these industries and products to foster bigger opportunities and growth,” he said.
“We have to do more business matching activities with them. The sister chamber relationship needs to be explored further. With the strengthening of ties between our country and Russia, it’s very timely that we do this. Again, there is an existing trade and interest between both countries, and we only need to expand and explore these opportunities with them,” he said.
According to DTI, Philippine exports to the Russian Federation from January to May 2017 only amounted to $26.5 million. The country’s top market is Japan, contributing $5.4 billion of the country’s exports in the same period this year.
For Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) president Melanie Ng, there are also opportunities to explore in tourism.
Ng said the chamber already started an engaging Russian businesses by joining visits organized by Honorary Consul to Russia Armi Lopez Garcia.
“Recently, we’ve reconnected with her and expressed our intention to further develop opportunities,” she said.
According to the Department of Tourism, there were 17,966 arrivals from the Russian Federation from January to May this year.
The top tourist market however for the country is South Korea with 686,630 arrivals from January to May this year.
Garcia welcomed Peza’s move to invite Russian investors as this would create more jobs for Filipinos.
Aside from that, she also cited the chance for a better understanding between the two cultures.
“Their presence here in the Philippines will bring better understanding not only between the Philippine and Russian business communities but, most importantly, between the two cultures,” she said.
She also cited the things that local businessmen should do to benefit from opportunities in the Russian market especially in Vladivostok.
Things to improve on
“Cebu needs to improve tourism , culture and business promotions to Vladivostok, which is already our sister city as this part of Russia is closest to the Philippines and is the gateway to the Far Eastern Region of Russia,” Garcia said.
Garcia, who played a role in initiating sisterhood ties with Vladivostok and Cebu City in 1996, also revealed Cebu City Mayor Tomas Osmena’s plan to invite city officials of Vladivostok to showcase what Cebu could offer, reinvigorate and renew ties with Vladivostok.
Peza’s plan to tap Russian investors was unveiled after Peza’s anticipation in the Eastern Economic Forum in Russia last week, where the agency was joined by representatives from other government departments.
This is also part of the agency’s move to aggressively reach out to non-traditional allies for investments, such as those from China and the gulf countries.
The Eastern Economic Forum was held on Sept. 6 and 7 in Vladivostok, Russia.
According to its website, the forum serves as a platform for cooperation among representatives in business, politics, among others, from Russia and the Asia-Pacific region.
Vladivostok is seen to play a “key role” since it is the emerging scientific and educational center in the Far East, with the largest Russian port facing the Pacific Ocean, and the main starting terminal for the Trans-Siberian portion of the Eurasian Land Bridge.