March 16 , 2024, MANILA – Three business agreements were signed between the Philippines and the Czech Republic on the last day of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s state visit to Prague on Friday.

BUSINESS DEALS. President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. witnesses the signing of three business agreements between the Philippines and the Czech Republic in a business forum in Prague on Friday (March 15, 2024). In his speech, Marcos said the agreements signify the two nations’ commitment to unlocking the vast potential in their partnerships. (Photo from PBBM's official Facebook page)

Marcos, along with Czech President Petr Pavel, witnessed the signing of deals during the Philippines-Czech Business Forum held at Czernin Palace.

Among the agreements signed was the memorandum of understanding on cooperation between the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc. (SEIPI) and the Electrical and Electronic Association of the Czech Republic (ELA).

Under the deal, SEIPI and ELA will establish a long-term collaborative relationship in the field of electronics that would include participation in the global network of leading technology and innovation centers or engagement of small and midsized companies.

The IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines, Inc. (IBPAP) and the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic (SPCR) also signed an Agreement of Mutual Cooperation to promote commercial and industrial relations.

The cooperation deal between the IBPAP and SPCR covers the exchange of better practices on policy and regulations; the development and promotion of information technology (IT) competencies; and certification or facilitation of responsible implementation of artificial intelligence.

Likewise signed was the Agreement of Mutual Cooperation between the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and the SPCR to promote trade and investment between the Philippines and the Czech Republic.

There will be exchanges of trade missions, organization of trade and investment seminars, and exchange of market information between the PCCI and the SPCR.

In his speech, Marcos said the agreements mark a significant milestone in the two countries’ journey towards mutual prosperity.

“These agreements are not just documents. They are a commitment to unlocking the vast potential that lies in our partnership,” Marcos said.

“Today’s agreements also signify a very exciting step forward. They embody our commitment to complement our strengths and explore new avenues of cooperation,” he added.

Marcos said the Philippines, with its strategic location and vibrant economy, is committed to becoming a reliable partner for the Czech Republic in implementing its Indo-Pacific Strategy.

“We believe that by working together, we can achieve our shared goals of stability, economic growth, and sustainable development in the region,” he said.

Free trade talks

Marcos also asked for the Czech Republic’s support for the resumption of negotiations for the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between the Philippines and the European Union (EU).

He said the resumption of talks for the FTA would be a “big step” in furthering the Philippines’ trade ties with the EU member-states, including the Czech Republic.

He said the free trade deal is essential in establishing “a stable, predictable, and enabling business environment that promotes inclusive and sustainable growth and development."

The Philippines and the EU launched exploratory talks on bilateral FTA in 2013.

There were two negotiations held in Brussels in 2016 and in Cebu in 2017. Talks have been on hiatus since then.

Marcos said he also looks forward to welcoming Czech Republic companies to further discussions and potential industry cooperation during the Joint Committee on Economic Cooperation in July this year.

He said the forum aims to deepen the dialogue, explore new partnerships, and foster an environment conducive to business and investment between the Philippines and the Czech Republic.

“With mutual respect and understanding, we can forge a partnership that not only benefits our nations but also contributes to the broader goals of peace, prosperity, and stability in the Indo-Pacific Region and beyond,” Marcos said.

The Czech Republic ranked as the Philippines’ 39th trading partner, 28th export market, and 47th import supplier in 2022, with total bilateral trade amounting to USD303.21 million. (PNA)


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