The Philippines has signed some $500-million deals with Russia, said Philippines-Russia Business Council (PRBC) chairman Roberto de Venecia on Friday.
“Only for Moscow, and I can speak only for those initiated by PRBC, I would assume that it’s in the vicinity of $500 million on the first 18 months,” De Venecia said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel’s Business Nightly.
“There will be a substantial increase of about 300 in the succeeding years, at least for the next 3 years.”
De Venecia did not disclose in which industries they have signed deals but mentioned two “landmark” agreements, the first of which is with Food City Center.
He said the deal will establish the first Philippine trade house in Russia, which will cater to imports from the Philippines and exports from Russia.
“They are interested because the Philippines could be a staging point for other countries, like in the emerging ASEAN market,” De Venecia said.
The second agreement is with VTV Bank, 60% of which is owned by Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov.
“This will help us tremendously in our efforts to consolidate our initiatives in working with Russian businessmen and other business establishments. There are other agreements signed but I think, by and large, this would be the most significant,” he said.
De Venecia bared that the delegation would have signed 150% more business deals if President Rodrigo Duterte did not cut his trip short.
“To be very straightforward, so many business establishments and leaders in the industry are very disappointed,” he said.
“It was certainly unexpected and there could’ve been a heavy turnout of leading business establishments but they are hopeful there will be a follow-up, a next visit by our president.”
Despite the firefight in Mindanao, De Venecia said the region will still have select projects that will benefit the agri-business sector the most.
“No, they don’t [know] much about Marawi. To them this is an isolated case, I think. That’s my interpretation. They know this is temporary,” he said.
The Philippines and Russia previously signed agreements on defense cooperation, nuclear energy, a 3-year joint action program on tourism agreements, and an exchange of information on transportation and culture.
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