South Korea wants part in 'Build, Build, Build' program
South Korea has reiterated its interest in actively participating in the Duterte Administration's “Build, Build, Build” program to help an old ally in its development while boosting its own infrastructure sector.
This was disclosed by Lee Hyuk, secretary-general of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) - Korean Centre, during an exclusive interview with the Philippine News Agency (PNA) last June 27.
Hyuk was former South Korean ambassador to the Philippines, serving in that role for three years. South Korea’s present envoy to the Philippines is Han Dong-Man.
He said South Korea “has shown high interest to actively participate in this (Build, Build, Build) program.”
“For instance, the two countries signed five bilateral agreements when President Duterte visited Seoul for the first time in June last year,” Hyuk said.
He also said that Korea and the Philippines “agreed to expand (their) Economic Development Cooperation Fund (EDCF) up to 1 billion US dollars to further strengthen mutual cooperation in transportation, infrastructure, energy, water management, and information technology sectors.”
Hyuk described the Philippines as one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
“Its annual GDP (gross domestic product) growth reached 6.5 percent in 2018, and is expected to keep its pace this year, according to the IMF (International Monetary Fund),” he said.
The “Build, Build, Build” program is expected to boost the national infrastructure spending of the Philippines to 7.3 percent of the country’s GDP by 2022.
“Against this backdrop, we organized the Investment and Market Research Mission in January and brought 13 Korean companies looking for infrastructure business opportunities in the Philippines,” Hyuk said.
He said that “during the Philippines-Korea Investment Forum on Infrastructure, relevant stakeholders, such as the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry, Public-Private Partnership Center, and ‘Build Build Build’ Committee shared information on legal framework for foreign investors and national agenda in infrastructure development/projects.”
In fact, “six participating companies had one-on-one business meetings with Filipino infrastructure private firms and some agreed to have a memorandum of understanding, and continue to have follow-up meetings after the program,” Hyuk said.