By: Genalyn Kabiling (Manila Bulletin) – June 06 2018

SEOUL – South Korean businessmen are interested in investing in the Philippines with the signing of 23 business deals worth an estimated value of $4.858 billion.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the private business deals, forged during the President Duterte’s visit to South Korea, are expected to generate 50,000 new jobs for Filipinos back home.

The agreements, including a memorandum of agreement (MOA), six memorandum of understanding (MOU), and 16 letters of intent (LOI) from Korean companies, were signed during the business forum attended by the President on the last day of his three-day visit there.

“These investments are expected to generate 50,000 new jobs in the sectors of automative, public utility, modernization, LNG (liquified natural gas) and coal fire power, engineering, construction, sea offshore services, food and aquaculture,” Lopez said during the forum held at Lotte Hotel here.

“These are all in addition to the five government-to-government MOUs signed by the government with the Korean government,” he added.

One of the biggest business deals is the $900-million power plant being planned by POSCO Engineering & Construction Co. Ltd. Lopez said the company intends to invest in energy plant in Masinloc, Zambales.

He said POSCO also intends to expand operations amounting to $200 million to generate 2,000 jobs, with plans to possibly invest in iron and steel operation, and construction operations to support the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program.

“The coverage of these business agreements basically reflect the interest of Korea, especially including SME (small and medium enterprises) assistance. We have big companies involved for the signing but we also cater to SMEs,” Lopez said in a press conference ahead of the business assembly.

Lopez said South Korea businessmen are bullish about the Philippine economic prospects, recognizing the nation’s fast growth rate.

“They all know that with the large population and growing middle class, there’s a lot of opportunity for constructer, infrastructure, construction, consumer goods, retailing,” he said.

He said the business sentiment towards the President was “very positive,” adding they have lauded his strong political will and reform agenda.

“Everybody recognizes the strong political will, the change the President is bringing, all the reforms that we’re talking about. They all realize the administration is determined to make changes for the better. And it’s being reflected now in the statistics we see, the economic fundamentals,” Lopez said.

Among the business deals will be the proposed power business activity of SK Engineering and Construction in the Philippines, according to Lopez. He said the company is interested to build a coal-fired power plant in Quezon as well as expand operations liquified natural gas and power infrastructure development and LNG trading and city-gas distribution.

Lopez said Hyundai was keen on reviewing plans to build a production facility for assembly passenger and commercial vehicles in the Philippines.

Taesong Kimchi Company is also looking into expand kimchi food business in the Philippines with plans to engage local farmers in Benguet in its operations.

The private business deals signed on Tuesday are the following:

  1. MOA on the donation of two fire trucks and two car ambulance from Korean Federation of Fire Association to the Authority of the Freeport of Area of Bataan
  2. MOU on establishment of a partnership to develop programs under the ASEAN mentorship for entrepreneurs network between the ASEAN Business Advisory Council and the ASEAN-Korean Centre With Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business
  3. MOU on the exchange of information about commerce, industry market, trade opportunities focusing on SMEs between the Philippine Chamber of Commerce Industry (PCCI) and the Korea Federation of Small and Medium Business
  4. MOU on promotion of trade, economic, scientific and technological cooperation between the PCCI and the Korea Importers Association
  5. MOU on information exchange in construction and engineering, SME promotion, science and technology programs between the Philippine Overseas Construction Board and the International Contractors Association of South Korea
  6. MOA on promoting linkage of trained manpower to enterprises between Philippine Die and Mold Association and Korea Association of Machinery Industry
  7. MOU on establishment of joint development and promotion of green businesses including smart grid, electric vehicles between the Philippine Utility Vehicle Inc and DaeKyung Engineering Co. Ltd.
  8. LOI on dredging, reclamation, and reformation of pier at Port Irene, Sta. Ana, Cagayan between Cagayan Economic Zone Authority and Sea Offshore Services Corporation
  9. LOI on the reinforcement of breakwater, harbor at Port Irene through build and transfer arrangement between CEZA and Fairbridge Overseas Development Philippines
  10. LOI on creation of hub inclusive of blockchain technology between CEZA and IP Ventures Inc, and Hanwha Life Insurance Co. Ltd.
  11. LOI on blockchain, education, tourism, gaming between CEZA and Hanwha Life Insurance Co. Ltd.
  12. LOI on expanding operations to Philippines on LNG and power infrastructure development by SK E&S
  13. LOI on expanding operations to Philippines on urban development, residential, airports, hospitals and high-rise buildings by POSCO Engineering & Construction Co.
  14. LOI to expand operations on solar power in San Pablo, Isabela by BKS Energy Industry Ltd.
  15. LOI to expand electric automobile business operations to the Philippines by Philips Holdings Co. Ltd.
  16. LOI to expand wind power plant operations to the Philippines by SY ENC Co. Ltd.
  17. LOI to expand operations on dredging and port rehabilitation to the Philippines by Jungheung Construction Co. Ltd. and JS Development Co. Ltd.
  18. LOI to expand power business activity by SK Engineering and Construction
  19. LOI to expand operations on freshwater eel production in Sta. Cruz, Occidental Mindoro by PNK Aquaculture and Trading
  20. LOI to expand business activity on real estate development in Tagaytay City by Andamiro Corporation
  21. LOI to expand kimchi food business in the Philippines by Taesong Kimchi Company
  22. LOI to participate in public utility jeepney modernization program, to provide environment-friendly automobile technologies by Hyundai Motor Co. and Hyundai Asia Resources
  23. LOI to review plans to build an assembly plant for passer vehicles by Hyundai Motor Co. and Hyundai Asia Resources Inc.