Russia moves for more economic engagements in RP, Asean and East Asia
Manila (6 March) -- The Philippines welcomes Russia's target of increasing its two-way trade with the Philippines from the present $200 million to at least $2 billion as part of Moscow's move to expand its bilateral relations with the Philippines, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and East Asia countries.
"Russia is a very important country to the Philippines. We would like Russia to be more economically engaged in the ASEAN and East Asia," President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said during the courtesy call in Malacanang on Monday, of six of the 54-member Russian trade and investment mission, led by Deputy Chairman Mikhail Nikolaev of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation.
President Arroyo in informing the delegation that within ASEAN, the Philippines is the coordinator on relations with Russia, expressed hope that Russia could become a full dialogue partner of ASEAN and East Asia.
In response, Nikolaev said Russia would like to have more participation in the ASEAN, specifically to assist and help small businesses in the region.
"Our (trade) mission has great support from our head of government," he said, adding that his group would like to look into "many unexplored areas" of investment in the Philippines and on "products of interest to both sides."
The Russian group has keen interest on Cebu's custom-designed furnitures that are made of materials indigenous only in the Philippines. They are also looking at the Philippines-produced tropical fruits and aquaculture products which they intend to distribute to the Siberian countries.
The delegation arrived in Manila last Saturday and would visit Cebu and Bohol provinces during their eight-day visit to which the Board of Investments has scheduled several business-matching sessions with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The delegation is composed mainly of members of the Eastern Dimension International Public Movement, a non-governmental organization created to assist in the rapid development of the Russian economy, especially in Siberia and the Far East, through the expansion of Russia-ASEAN cooperation in economic, cultural and scientific fields. This is the first time for a large-scale business mission from Russia to visit the Philippines since the founding of the Russian Federation in 1992. (PIA 5) [top]