Philippines, Netherlands boost trade and investment ties

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MANILA, Philippines, Oct 30, (Agencies): The Philippines and the Netherlands have affirmed their commitment to strengthening trade and investment ties, expanding on their existing strong partnership in the realm of defense. During a bilateral meeting in Manila on Oct 30, Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Enrique Manalo and Dutch Foreign Minister Hanke Bruins Slot discussed the need to establish a focal point to facilitate economic and technical cooperation between both nations.

The decision to designate this focal point signifies a milestone in the economic collaboration between the Philippines and the Netherlands, as it marks the first visit by a Dutch foreign minister to Manila in over three decades. Philippine Ambassador to the Netherlands J. Eduardo Malaya emphasized that officials from the Department of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of International Economic Affairs would work closely to foster increased economic and business-to-business engagement.

“We’ve been encouraging this for some time because we had noted that there are the joint bilateral consultations, but mostly doing cooperation on the political security and other fields, and it needed to be complemented by economic cooperation,” Malaya explained.

During their joint press conference, Secretary Manalo addressed a wide range of topics in the bilateral relationship, encompassing trade, investments, cybersecurity, law enforcement, human rights, maritime cooperation, and the safety of Filipino seafarers working on Dutch-owned and -flagged vessels. Manalo underscored the importance of their shared maritime heritage as maritime nations.

Minister Bruins Slot characterized her discussions with Secretary Manalo as “open and constructive” and expressed a desire to strengthen Dutch cooperation with the Philippines. In addition to existing areas of cooperation, the Netherlands also expressed interest in collaborating on water management, agriculture, and the circular economy.

Both countries affirmed their commitment to upholding international law, particularly concerning issues in the South China Sea. Minister Bruins Slot emphasized their shared dedication to the international law of the sea and their joint efforts to enhance capacity in understanding and implementing these laws. She further highlighted their mutual interest in ensuring a stable and open Indo-Pacific region, aiming to create a safer and more prosperous future for both nations based on shared interests, values, and perspectives.

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