AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND—President Aquino wants to raise the awareness about the Philippines when he meets with New Zealand’s business community during his two-day state visit here.
Presidential Communications Development and Strategic Planning Office (PCDSPO) Secretary Ricky Carandang said the Philippines is hoping to sell more products to New Zealand, pointing out a trade surplus in favor of New Zealand.
In 2011, the Philippines’ trade deficit with New Zealand increased by US$103.26 million from US$376.11 in 2010 to US$479.37.
The value of Philippine imports from New Zealand rose by 7.97% from US$357.37 million in 2007 to US$524.33 million in 2011. Most of these products are food items, mainly dairy product, malt extracts, frozen mackerel and meat.
In contrast, the value of Philippine exports to New Zealand declined by 20.38% from US$114.15 million in 2007 to US$44.86 million in 2011. Most of the exports are food products such as fruits (mostly bananas) and motor vehicle parts.
But Philippine exports posted an increase of 5% from January to February 2012, compared with the same period last year.
The Philippines is New Zealand’s 13th largest export market and about its 3rd largest market for dairy markets after China and the United States; the Philippines is almost tied with Australia and Japan.
“We have a very thriving economic relationship with New Zealand but the problem is people here are not very aware of these economic links,” Carandang told reporters.
“Sa Pilipinas hindi rin tayo masyadong aware kung gaano kalawak pala ‘yung economic links natin sa New Zealand. So dairy products, agricultural products, malakas ang trade natin with New Zeland there. Mas marami silang binebenta sa atin kaysa produktong binebenta natin sa kanila.
“Isa sa mga gusto nating mangyari if we are able to hook up our businessmen with their businessmen ay lumawak pa ‘yung trade natin para medyo nakabawi tayo because we sell maybe about one third of what they sell to us. So mas may trade surplus sila sa atin. This is a healthy trade relationship naman pero, syempre, if we can sell them more products, we would be very happy to sell them that,” he added.
Aquino is looking forward to inviting more businessmen from New Zealand to invest in the Philippines, including in the areas of agriculture, tourism, and business process outsourcing. Aquino is accompanied by a group of businessmen from the Philippines.
PALACE JUSTIFIES COST
The Palace said that the P44-million budget allocated for the state visits to New Zealand and Australia is “more than worth it,” citing the commercial deals and various levels of cooperation that can be forged out of the trip.
“Hindi na natin dapat bilangin how much did it cost but how much has this contributed to our relations with the rest of the world. Nakikita naman natin ang ganda ng tingin sa atin ng buong mundo, ano, at nag-uunahan pa nga sila minsan para maka-invest dito sa Pilipinas,” Carandang said.
PNOY TO MEET PINOYS IN NZ
Aquino begins his schedule on Monday with an interaction with the Filipino community at the Sky City Hotel later in the afternoon, local time.
As in previous meetings with Filipino communities overseas, the President to will given them an update of the developments in back home and thank them for their contribution to the economy.
WORKING VISIT PROGRAM
On Tuesday, Aquino flies to New Zealand’s capital, Wellington, for the arrival honors and welcome ceremony at the Government House and meetings with Prime Minister John Phillip Key and Governor-General Sir Jerry Mateparae.
One of the bilateral agreements that are expected to be signed involves a working visit program that will allow a people-to-people exchange between the two countries.
“In broad strokes we will provide opportunities for Filipinos to come here, get to know the country, New Zealanders to go to the Philippines and also to get to know the country,” Carandang said.
“Dito sa mga people-to-people exchanges umaasa tayo na lalawak ‘yung tourism both ways. Kasi naghahanap din sila ng turista mula sa Asia. Ang mga tourist na nagpupunta sa New Zealand mostly Australian and American,” he added.
“So we may be able to find a way na dahil dito sa visit na ito dumami ‘yung mga New Zealand tourists sa Pilipinas at dumami rin ang Philippine tourists dito sa New Zealand.”