PH, Russia to explore nuke plant construction
The Philippines and Russia have signed at least 10 trade and investment deals, including an agreement to explore possible construction of nuclear power plants in the country, Malacañang said on Saturday.
In a statement, Palace spokesman Salvador Panelo said five memoranda of understanding (MoU), a memorandum of agreement (MoA), two distributorship agreements and two memoranda of intent (MoI) with estimated value of $12.57 million or around P650 million were signed during President Rodrigo Duterte’s visit to Russia.
These cover a wide range of areas, including an “intention to jointly explore the prospects of cooperation in the construction of nuclear power plants,” Panelo added in a statement.
The MoI to jointly explore the possible construction of nuclear power plants in the Philippines was signed by the Department of Energy with Rusatom Overseas.
Russian President Vladimir Putin in an earlier statement expressed Russia’s interest in “promoting industrial cooperation and joint projects in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.”
The country’s first and only nuclear power station, the Bataan Nuclear Power Plant, never became operational because of issues of corruption and safety, compounded by fear from the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.
The mothballed project was revisited in 2018 as the Philippines looked for other sources to meet a growing demand for power.
Panelo said other deals signed between the Philippines and Russia include supplying tuna, sardines and cocconut products to the Russian market as well as the distribution, promotion and sale of Russian-made watches, vehicles and medical techonologies in the Philippines.
Century Pacific Food Inc. signed three MoU to supply tuna and sardine products to Magnit Food Retail Chain, Dalimo and LLC Dalpromryba to serve the Russian market.
Another MoU was signed by Century Pacific Agricultural Ventures Inc. with Panasia Impex Co. Ltd. to export coconut milk products that will be distributed to Russia’s markets.
Lifetruck International Inc. inked two distributorship agreements that will make them the exclusive distributor for the distribution, promotion and sale of Sturmanskie watches and Kamaz vehicles in the Philippines.
Immunitas Holistic Consultants Inc. and Institute of Practical Psychophysics signed an MoA that seeks to promote, distribute and sell IPP-NLS (medical) technologies, particularly Metatron Micro MRI Systems and its variations in the Philippines.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and Russia-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) Business Council sealed an MoU on information exchange and collaboration on business development aimed at promoting trade and investment between the Philippines and Russia, members of Russia-Asean Business Council and Philippine companies.
The DTI’s Board of Investments signed an MoI with the Association of Industrial Parks of Russia to exchange information on investment environment and opportunities, as well as to attract and support foreign investments in the two countries.
In his speech during the forum, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the signing of agreements marked the “beginning of strengthening ties with Russian investors and markets.”
“There is a huge potential in expanding trade and investment cooperation between our two countries since the markets have not been really maximized in the past. This is just the beginning of what we see as a source of further market road for our two economies,” he added.
“The intention is to widen the range of products being exported to Russia,” according to the Trade chief.
Apart from electronics and electrical equipment and coconut products, Lopez said they were pushing for auto parts, canned fresh and frozen fish and chicken, chemicals, aerospace and machinery.
He added that the Philippine government was “committed to widening its trade and investment engagements with other nations under President Duterte’s independent foreign policy.”
“With the established good relations between the two leaders and stronger partnership with the Russian business community, we are confident of making progress with various government initiatives in infrastructure development and the thrust toward developing micro, small and medium enterprises,” Lopez said.
In his speech during the Philippines-Russia Business Forum in Moscow on Friday, Duterte urged Russian investors to participate in the country’s massive infrastructure build-up through the Build, Build, Build program as he boasts of numerous incentives for foreign companies.
He assured foreign investors that their money was safe under his administration.
“We invite because we feel that investors have shown a strong trust and confidence in my administration with record-breaking investments. We invite our Russian friends to invest and do more business in the Philippines,” Duterte said.
“We offer competitive fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to jumpstart qualified investment projects from infancy to maturity of business operations,” he added.
President Duterte said investors would enjoy tax holidays that would exempt the company from payment of the 30-percent corporate tax for four to six years from the start of commercial operations.
This, he added, might be extended for another three years, subject to certain conditions such as expert earnings, labor generation and use of indigenous materials.
The President said investors could also avail of tax and duty-free importation of capital equipment and raw materials, as well as a refund of value added tax for locally-purchased materials.
Special non-immigrant working visa will also be made available to employees of the firm who are foreign citizens, he added.
“With these, I invite you to participate in the massive Build, Build, Build infrastructure program especially in transport and railway construction where Russia has high expertise,” Duterte said.
“Let me assure you that your investments are assured of gains and protection in my country,” he added.
“With strong resolve and commitment, I am confident that our economic ties will continue to prosper to its full potential. The new business agreements forged today will bring closer to us in our goal,” Duterte said.
“Our efforts to revitalize bilateral relations are bearing fruit. Very recently, two or more Philippine fishery establishments gained accreditation to export to Russia and to other Eurasian markets,” he added.
The President said Russia was “a priority trade and investment market for the Philippines.”
“I am pleased to know that our economic exchanges are increasing. Last year, our total trade reached $1.36 billion. It has more than doubled in 2017 at $568 million. Philippine export to Russia also reached $86 million last year and increased from almost $70 million in 2017. And this year, this upward trajectory continues,” he noted.
“This indicates promising ties between our economies at an even higher level,” the President said.