Philippines, UAE boost economic cooperation

THE Philippines and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) signed an investment promotion and protection agreement (IPPA) on Thursday in Dubai.

According to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez Jr. and UAE Ministry of Finance (MOF) Minister of State Hadi Al Hussaini who signed the IPPA, this landmark agreement is set to boost bilateral investments and bolster economic cooperation between the two countries.

Philippine Ambassador to the UAE Hjayceelyn Quintana, who witnessed the signing, highlighted the timeliness of the IPPA as the two countries forge stronger relations, expanding the depth and breadth of cooperation across many areas, including trade and investment.

“This historic agreement is the first of a number of bilateral instruments that will further cement close ties between our two countries as the Philippines and the UAE mark 48 years of diplomatic relations this year. I am joined by my compatriots in the UAE in expressing our fervent hope that this IPPA will usher in an era of heightened investments as our two countries build confidence, creating a mutually favorable environment for investors of both sides,” Quintana said.

The IPPA is a product of successful collaboration between the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), including the coordination between the Philippine Embassy in Abu Dhabi and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in facilitating the IPPA negotiation meetings and exchange of drafts between the DTI-Board of Investments and the UAE MOF.

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With the IPPA, Quintana said the Philippines is set to heighten investment activities with the UAE, which ranked last year (2021) as the Philippines’ 20th trading partner (out of 223), 23rd export market (out of 205), and 18th import supplier (out of 210).

Approved investments from the UAE in 2019 amounted to P685 million (ranked 17th) and P19 million in 2021 (ranked 27th).

Between 2015 and 2020, the UAE contributed up to one-third of Outward Foreign Direct Investments, surpassing neighboring countries in the Gulf Cooperation Council.