PH, Israel sign investment promotion, protection deal

The Philippines and Israel have signed this week an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) and vowed to strengthen bilateral economic relations between them.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez and Israel Finance Minister Avigdor Lieberman signed the IPPA in Jerusalem on June 7.

Under the signed IPPA, the two countries agreed to cover national treatment, most favored nation treatment, free transfers, rules-based expropriation and compensation, and investor-state dispute settlement.

Lopez said industries prioritized under the IPPA include agro-tech, life sciences and healthcare, water technologies, high-technology and semiconductors, cybersecurity, financial technology, defense industry, smart transportation, clean technology, smart manufacturing, and the diamond industry.

The IPPA, he said, aims to encourage more Israeli businesses to look into investment opportunities in the Philippines. “The Philippines eyes Israel’s expertise in innovation, especially in new and smart technologies that will bring about more competitive and efficient products. On the other hand, Israeli investors have expressed interest in investing in infrastructure, agriculture and water, and business process outsourcing (BPO) sectors in the Philippines,” he added.

Aside from the IPPA, the Philippines and Israel also launched their Joint Economic Commission (JEC) and the cooperation agreement with Israel Innovation Authority.

Lopez is in Israel this week to reaffirm trade and investment ties between the two countries even with the expected change in administration by the end of the month, and to invite Israeli businesses to invest in the country.

“Israeli investors can certainly look forward to maximizing the gains from the game-changing legislative amendments, such as the liberalization of the public services act, retail trade liberalization law, and the foreign investments act and now is the most opportune time to do so,” Lopez emphasized.

Israel ranked 34th as the Philippines’ trading partner, being the 39th export market and 31st import source.

The outgoing DTI chief has been active in the past six years in expanding trade and investment relations of the country, especially with non-traditional markets.

Aside from Israel, Lopez will also sign an IPPA with the United Arab Emirates this week. (PNA)