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Israel, Manila to increase trade, business ties

The Philippines is hoping to increase threefold its trade with Israel, with Israeli investors setting up facilities in the Philippines to boost economic relations between the two countries. “Two-way trade between us and Israel is unfortunately just at $200 million to $250 million last year. We intend to triple that,” said Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) president Miguel Varela during a business matching session and forum attended by a 15-member delegation from Israel. He also noted that much of the trade between Israel and the Philippines is mostly in favor of Israel. “We don’t have a commercial attaché in the Philippines and we would like to have one. Right now, we want to expand our trade considering that we have reached $2 billion in two-way trade with areas like Taiwan,” said Israeli Trade Attaché for Taiwan, Singapore and Philippines Doron Hemo. Israel’s two-way trade with the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) has reached $28 billion. Most members of the Israeli delegation are involved in processed food, agriculture, real estate, tourism, aviation, smart house technology, trade of diamonds and seeds. Areas that Israel can conduct business with the Philippines include mining, agriculture, irrigation and tourism. “Maybe state-of-the-art weapons can also be traded. But most of all, we want you to be able to set up factories in the country and generate jobs,” PCCI member and Alphaland Development Inc. president Mario Oreta told the Israelis. The Israeli delegation, who met with Vice-President Jejomar Binay, will be in the country until Tuesday for business meetings. — BM, GMA News

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