ISLAMABAD, Jul 30 (APP):Chargé D’affaires of Philippine to Pakistan Dan Erwin Bagaporo and Cultural Office Maria Agnes M. Cervantes on Saturday said the promotion of cultural relations between Pakistan and the Philippines will also strengthen bilateral economic and trade relations.
Cultural, diplomatic, economic and trade ties have been established between the two countries in many potential sectors, which have wider possibilities of further strengthening bilateral relations in the future, she said.
She expressed these views while addressing the cultural show along with senior diplomats and first secretary of embassy Dan Erwin C.Bagaporo, organized by the embassy of Philippine to promote the cultural cooperation between Pakistan and Philippines.
On the occasion ,senior diplomats from the Association of SouthEast Asian Nations (ASEAN) including Indonesia, Vietnam, Mayamar,Thailand and Malaysia attended the Cultural Show.
Meanwhile, talking to APP, Maria Agnes said that Pakistan and the Philippines have extensive opportunities for promoting mutual cultural, economic and trade relations.
The Philippines is a representative of a strong cultural heritage, which has many similarities with Pakistan’s culture and civilization, which can be helpful in bringing the two countries closer.
She said that Pakistan and Philippines have ample opportunities for cooperation in tourism.
The senior diplomat said that the Philippines can play a significant role in providing economic and trade opportunities to Pakistan.
“It will provide connectivity with 623 million of Association of SouthEast Asian Nations (ASEANs) potential trade market,” he said.
In addition, the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) has been signed for free trade with ASEAN countries, including Philippines, Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which allows Pakistan to benefit from it through Philippines, she said.
She said that ASEAN countries, Asian Pacific countries, Australia and New Zealand are included in this Free Trade Agreement, which allows Pakistan to benefit from the emerging economic markets of these countries.
Today, regionalism is on the rise in the trading world that is why ASEAN is one of the largest trading blocs in the world, with the RCEP bloc accounting for 30% of world trade, which is important in global trade.
Chargé D’affaires said that this century called as the century of Asian region and the emerging economies in Asia have great trade and economic opportunities for the world.
She said that other economies, including Pakistan, need to be connected to the global supply chain so that they can reap the benefits.
On this occasion, diplomats and First secretary of embassy of Philippine, Dan Erwin C.Bagaporo while talking to APP said Pakistan and Philippine have enriched culture and both sides can promote good people to people contacts as well.
He also said that there is a great similarity between food and culture in Pakistan and Philippines which also included many common dishes.
Talking on economic and trade, he said that joint trade between Pakistan and ASEAN countries including the Philippines was not in line with its potential.
This requires further efforts in both and finding some untapped sectors in ASEAN and Pakistan.
He said that there are ample opportunities in the global market including ASEAN for Pakistan’s textile sector, local garments and other agricultural products.
It is pertinent to mention that the Philippines and Pakistan signed two economic agreements, namely the Philippines-Pakistan Trade Agreement and the Philippines-Pakistan Agreement for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investment on September 29, 1961 and April 23,1999 in Manila, respectively.
The latter Agreement is presently under review by both sides to bring it into conformity with the emerging global trade and investment patterns.
During the second round of Philippines-Pakistan Policy Consultations held last April 1, 2004, both sides agreed to rejuvenate the trade and investment relations between the Philippines and Pakistan through a Philippines-Pakistan Joint Economic Commission or JEC at the Ministerial level.
The first-ever JEC, however, met many years later in Islamabad in 2018.
It is expected that the Bilateral Policy Consultations Talks to be held in 2022 will in tandem also cater to the holding of the second round of Joint Economic Commission this year.
The annual figures for 2020 and 2021 show considerable increase in bilateral trade despite Covid-19 restrictions in the past year.
The total bilateral trade in 2020 which stood at US$149.98 million rose to US$215.95 million in 2021.
Just to give the latest one month figures; in February 2022, Pakistan’s exports to the Philippines stood at US$ 25.254 million and imports from Philippines at US$ 3.659 million.
With the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, the trend seems pointing toward much higher figures by the end of the year.
Top exports to Pakistan include garments, paper products, cosmetics, dairy products, processed fruits, coconut products, tobacco, electronic components and machineries, iron, steel, cement and chemicals. Top imports from Pakistan include housewares, Textiles, processed foods, dairy products, marine products, fresh foods, tobacco, textile yarns and twines, and industrial products.