Report: Philippines, Israel Signed $83m in Deals This Week

Philippine official newswire service says over 20 agreements were signed during the Filipino president's visit to Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shakes hands with the president of the Philippines Rodrigo Duterte during their meeting in Jerusalem, September 3, 2018.

Over 20 agreements worth nearly $83 million dollars were signed between the Philippines and Israel during Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit this week, Philippine Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez announced on Wednesday, according to the government’s official newswire service.

The Philippine News Agency reported that 14 memorandums of agreement and understanding between the two countries were signed, as well as eight letters of intent from Israeli firms interested in investing in the Philippines.

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“These agreements are a clear indication of the enormous business and investment opportunities in the Philippines available to Israelis,” the agency quoted Lopez as saying. “The Philippines is committed to pursue several growth opportunities by strengthening partnerships with emerging economic partners like Israel. Our engagement with them allows us to reinvigorate ties and increase trade between our countries.”

Lopez said the Philippines is eyeing technologies that Israeli firms have developed for the agriculture sector. He noted in particular farming, drip irrigation, and milk production among others. He added his country is also interested in artificial intelligence technologies, electronics, and water management, including desalination and recycling.

Some of the deals were signed at an economic forum in Jerusalem on Tuesday, which was billed as the biggest business conference ever between Israelis and Filipinos.

Over 150 Philippine entrepreneurs and a similar number of their Israeli colleagues congregated for the event, which President Duterte attended. The visitors represented the fields of technology, telecommunications, electronics, agriculture and water, technology education, food, energy, defense and medical equipment.

The deals also included one between the Israel and Philippines national chambers of commerce. The agreements stressed the sharing of technology and the engaging in joint production ventures in the Philippines.

Likewise, there was an agreement between the Jerusalem and Manila chambers of commerce. Additionally, Duterte on Tuesday signed an oil exploration license that is being granted to the Israeli-owned company Ratio Petroleum, which Haaretz first reported would happen on Sunday.