S. Korea welcomes ease of doing business improvements ahead of FTA ratification

S. Korea welcomes ease of doing business improvements ahead of FTA ratification

PHILIPPINE EFFORTS to improve ease of doing business are welcome and will ease the flow of trade once a free trade agreement (FTA) with South Korea comes into force, the Korean ambassador said.

“Korea will ratify the agreement soon, and I have been assured that the Philippine Senate will (ratify) soon. With this win-win agreement, our two countries’ trade and investment are set to increase in the coming years,” Ambassador to the Philippines Lee Sang-hwa said.

“In this context, Korea strongly supports the Philippine government’s efforts to improve its ease of doing business environment,” he added.

In September, the Philippines and South Korea signed an FTA, which is designed to open up both economies to each other’s goods and help mitigate supply chain disruptions.

Mr. Lee said the potential areas of cooperation between the Philippines and South Korea include renewable energy and critical minerals.

“We hope that there will be more progress in the two countries’ collaboration in high-efficiency clean energy sources such as nuclear power and hydrogen technology. And we also look to intensify cooperation in critical minerals,” he added.

South Korea is one of the Philippines’ top trade and investment partners. Last year, it ranked 4th in bilateral trade, which was valued at $15.45 billion. South Korea was also sixth in total approved investments at $90.62 million.

Meanwhile, Mr. Lee said that people-to-people exchanges are also expected to grow along with trade.

“The Korean Visa Application Center, which opened in September, receives 800-1,000 visa applicants every day from Filipinos who want to visit Korea,” he said.

“And the number of Korean visitors to the Philippines is expected to reach the pre-pandemic level of 2 million people,” he added.

The Department of Tourism has reported that visitors from South Korea in the year to date ending Nov. 27 numbered 1.27 million or 26.37% of the total, making it Philippines’ top source market for foreign arrivals. — Justine Irish D. Tabile