PH, Canada business ties safe from diplomatic row: trade chief

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 16 2019 07:41 PM

MANILA- Business relations between Philippine and Canadian firms will remain unscathed from the diplomatic row between the 2 nations, Trade Chief Ramon Lopez said Thursday.

This after Manila ordered the recall of its ambassador and consuls from Ottawa after Canada missed a May 15 deadline to retrieve heaps of garbage a private firm dumped in the Philippines some 5 years ago.

"Hindi yun sa tingin ko makakaapekto sa, kasi business to business transaction natin pagdating sa trade and investment with Canadian companies so they will simply continue," he said.

(I don't think that issue will affect our trade and investment with Canadian companies because those are business-to-business transactions so they will simply continue.)

Canada is the Philippines' 19th top trading partner as of 2017, data from the Philippine Statistics Authority showed.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the Philippines would maintain a diminished diplomatic presence in Canada "until its garbage is ship-bound there." 

The diplomatic row would only create concerns among Canadian businessmen if Manila pushes through with its threat to sever diplomatic ties, Lopez said.

The trade chief was however confident that the issue would not escalate as he noted that it remains a "separate issue" for the business sector.

"Sa tingin ko hindi naman hahantong dun, napakatagal na nung relationship natin para umabot sa ganun or maapektuhan yung long term relationship with Canada," he said.

(I don't think the problem will escalate to a severance of ties. We've had a very long relationship with Canada for it to be affected by this.)

Canada earlier affirmed its commitment to take back the garbage.

“The Government of Canada remains committed to working with the Government of the Philippines and has made an offer to repatriate this Canadian waste. Canada and the Philippines continue to collaborate closely to resolve the issue,” its embassy in Manila said.