Highlights of Washington Business Forum and Reception in honor of President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr.
Business Forum and Reception
3 May 2023
US-Philippines Society Co-Chair Ambassador John D. Negroponte and directors including members of the Society from the Philippines participated in a May 3 business forum co-organized by the US Chamber of Commerce and the US-ASEAN Business Council in partnership with the US-Philippines Society at the Blair House, Washington DC.
In his speech, President Marcos, Jr. cited his administration’s trade and investment priority areas including the advancement of digital transformation of businesses in the Philippines to “foster competitiveness of the semi-conductor and electronics sector,” noting the vulnerability of the sector to disruptive technologies and the need for research and development. He also stressed the importance to develop sustainable critical minerals supply chain from the extraction phase of critical minerals and into vertical integration that would involve all activities related to battery production.
President Marcos emphasized the importance of the U.S. government’s Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program that expired in December 2020, stating that, “we would like very much for the (re)authorization to come about as this boost trade, and to make U.S. products that (have components) made in the Philippines more competitive in the global market.” Under the GSP, some 3,500 eligible products enter the U.S. duty-free. The Philippines has been a consistent top beneficiary of GSP and source of imports for U.S. manufacturers. High GSP utilization rate showed significant savings when sourcing products from the Philippines as well as growing awareness and demand for Philippine goods.
In response to Amb Negroponte’s question on the “123 agreement for civil nuclear energy cooperation,” President Marcos made it clear that his Administration is actively pursuing an energy mix leaning toward renewable non fossil fuel sources and emerging technologies including nuclear, hydrogen, and electric vehicles to meet future needs.
Also attending the event were First Lady Marie Louise Araneta Marcos, Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez, key members of his cabinet, House Speaker Martin Romualdez, and former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. Business delegation members included Society Directors Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, Ambassador at Large Jose Antonio, Enrique K. Razon and representing SM Investments Ms. Tessie Sy-Coson along with Philippine business leaders Ramon Ang (San Miguel Corporation), Lance Gokongwei (JG Summit Holdings), Kevin Tan (Alliance Global Group/Megaworld) and Sabin Aboitiz (Aboitiz & Co). In addition to US-based Society directors, representatives from top American companies like Citi Global, IBM, semiconductors association also attended.
Earlier in his visit, the President and his delegation met with various groups including the US-Philippines Society and private sector U.S. firms namely, NuScale, Zero Motorcycles, Carnival Corporation (cruise) and other cargo shipping companies, Moderna (health), Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (nuclear technology), Atento (Global BPO), Maxeon (solar technology), Analog Devices General Trias (analog, digital and software technologies), and Optum (medical).
Representatives of the U.S. side at the forum included Ambassador MaryKay Carlson, State and Commerce Department officials, U.S. Chief of Protocol Amb. Rufus Gifford, US-ABC President Amb Ted Osius, US Chamber of Commerce Senior VP for Asia Charles Freeman and Executive Director for Southeast Asia John Goyer.