MANILA — In a bid to further improve economic ties, the Philippines and Pakistan had agreed to reactivate the Pakistan-Philippines Joint Business Forum and Council with the participation of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines and the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.
The agreement comes after the recently concluded inaugural session of the Philippine-Pakistan Joint Economic Commission (JEC) in Islamabad last Feb. 28, 2018.
The DFA said the JEC agreed to conduct feasibility studies on the possibility of “preferential trade agreement” and the creation of a technical working group with the JEC for this purpose.
The Philippine-Pakistan Business Council was established late 2003 and was launched in September 2004.
As part of the council’s reactivation, the two governments are expected to join hand-in-hand in trade fairs and single country and product-based exhibitions regularly.
Trade Undersecretary for Industry and Trade Policy Ceferino Rodolfo and Secretary of the Economic Affairs Division of Pakistan Arif Ahmed Khan co-chaired the JEC meeting, which gathered both countries’ economic officials to discuss ways of enhancing bilateral economic cooperation especially in the areas of trade, investment, energy, agriculture, tourism, health, industries and other matters of mutual interest.
On the sidelines of the JEC, Rodolfo discussed opportunities for Pakistan-Philippine economic relations at a gathering of Pakistani businessmen organized by the Pakistan-Philippines Business Forum (PPBF).
During his stay in Pakistan, Rodolfo also paid a courtesy call to the Minister for Commerce and Textile and the Federal Secretary for the Ministry of National Health Services, Regulation and Coordination.
While no specific date has been announced, DFA said the next JEC meeting is scheduled in Manila.
During the 2nd Philippine-Pakistan Policy Consultations in 2004, the Pakistani government has proposed to form the JEC as a mechanism to boost economic and trade relations.
Former President and now Pampanga Re. Gloria Macapagal Arroyo ratified the Memorandum of Agreeement on JEC in 2009 and in the same year, it entered into force. (PNA)