|Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. meet with US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC) President and Chief Executive Officer CEO) Ted Osius (center, left panel photo). | Photo Credit: Philippine Embassy, Washington DC
NEW YORK – In a meeting with US-ASEAN Business Council (USABC), Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr. discussed with its president and CEO, Ted Osius, ways to expand the three-decade-old partnership between the Philippines and USABC. The USABC has been instrumental in ensuring that US businesses find a reliable trade and investment partner and hub for their regional operations in the Philippines.
Locsin underscored that President Duterte’s restoration of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) puts the relationship between the Philippines and the United States back on track and restores the security balance in the Asia-Pacific. In turn, Ambassador Osius said USABC members lauded President Duterte’s decision as it gives fresh impetus to further broaden PH-US engagement, especially in the economic sphere.
Locsin also encouraged USABC to resume business missions to the Philippines to support the country’s post-pandemic recovery efforts effectively. Ambassador Osius noted that there is huge potential for growth in Southeast Asia, with US companies looking at opportunities for diversification in the region, particularly on supply chains.
Beyond health-related cooperation, the Philippines remains open to opportunities for collaboration in the energy, IT-BPM, manufacturing, and telecommunications sectors, all with an eye towards sustainability.
Later in the day, Locsin also met with Samantha Power, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator, to explore opportunities further to expand the partnership between the Philippines and USAID.
The Philippines and USAID are celebrating 60 years of partnership this year, coinciding with the 75th anniversary of Philippines-United States diplomatic relations and the 70th anniversary of the Mutual Defense Treaty.
Locsin thanked Power for the US government’s and private sector’s assistance to the Philippines’ pandemic response and recovery efforts.
USAID has helped facilitate the Philippines’ procurement of PPE and other COVID-19 essentials, empowering Filipino health workers through online training, expanding community access to water, sanitation, and hygiene information, services, and commodities, and strengthening the supply chain management and the delivery of cash relief through digital solutions.
Both exchanged notes on ongoing vaccination efforts in the Philippines and the US. Locsin stressed the need for a stable and regular supply of vaccines, especially from the United States.
They also discussed cooperation to address the climate crisis and the need for the US to diversify its supply chain to manufacture solar-powered products. Locsin urged USAID to work closely with the Philippines to mitigate the effects of climate change.
Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez accompanied Locsin during his working visit to the US to celebrate 60 years of partnership with the USAID and the 75th anniversary of Philippines-US diplomatic relations. –JayDomingo/PDM