Trump's Philippine partner is new trade envoy to US

Liza Reyes, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 07 2016 09:57 AM | Updated as of Nov 07 2016 10:29 AM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte has designated as special envoy to Washington a real estate tycoon whose projects include US presidential candidate Donald Trump's eponymous tower in the Philippines, the foreign ministry said on Monday.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay confirmed to ABS-CBN News Century Properties Group Chairman and CEO Jose E.B. Antonio's appointment as special envoy for trade, investment and economic affairs.

Antonio will "enhance business ties and strengthen the economic affairs," between the Philippines and the US, the company said in a statement.

Century Properties is known for partnering with celebrities for its luxury developments. Aside from Trump Tower Manila, the company also built a condominium complex with a man-made beach designed by American socialite Paris Hilton.

Antonio will assume his new role as Duterte continues to criticize the US for allegedly mistreating the Philippines, its key ally in the Pacific, causing unease among some investors.

Antonio is also a director of the US-Philippines society, a private sector group that aims to broaden economic, security and cultural interactions between the two countries.

He served as special envoy to China in 2005 and founded the Philippines-China business council.