Business & Economy

Korean buying mission to boost investments here

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The recent buying mission of South Korea’s largest association of importers is seen supportive of Department of Trade and Industry’s (DTI) objective to grow investment-led exports and to encourage investments into the tourism infrastructure.


“Our delegation will not only import from the Philippines but also invest in the country, hire people, make the produce here and bring it back to Korea or export to ASEAN countries,” Korea Importers’ Association (KOIMA) Chairman Thoma T.Y. Shinn said in an interview.

“Last year, Korea’s investment into the Philippines grew 400 percent from the previous year and more than 1 million Korean tourists came to the nation, being the No. 1 foreign visitors to the Philippines,” Shinn said during the recent trade and investment business forum hosted by the DTI for the KOIMA buying mission to the Philippines.

This mission was jointly hosted by DTI and the Department of Tourism (DOT). It is a 182-member delegation composed of 103 KOIMA members and their spouses. The KOIMA handles 70 percent of Korea’s total imports, which reached US$519 billion in 2012 and composed of more than 8,000 importers, supplying Korea’s end-user principals, manufacturers and processors, distributors and retailers, and the government’s procurement agencies.

Shinn also noted that the Philippines has become one of the key trade partners of Korea as the trade volume between the two nations was growing fast to set the record high of $11.5 billion last year.

“We want to increase our import value from the Philippines. Most of our exports are agricultural products. We intend to expand in agriculture, garments and mining products,” Shinn said.

He also mentioned one big telecommunication company in Korea is seriously eyeing joint-venture arrangements in the Philippines.

He also noted that there no manufactures of aluminium foil in the Philippines. Aluminium foils in the country are imported 100 percent.

“If we can find a partner here, it will be a big investment. Aluminium is very important because the packaging industry is important in the Philippines. If somebody will produce here, it will be a good industry,” Shinn said.

Shinn’s company, the Hanshinn International Corporation, in particular, has been exporting and importing products in the Philippines for more than 10 years. It has supplied a lot of mold for PET (or polyethylene terephthalate) bottles for mineral water, medicine bottles, and known brands like Gatorade and Eskinol. It has also supplied tin plates, and bought agricultural products in the country.

“Through this forum, I am optimistic that KOIMA will be at the forefront in augmenting the trade and investment between our two countries. There are numerous reason why the Philippines is important to Korea, I believe that the key factor is our shared economic principle,” Korean Ambassador to the Philippines Lee Hyuk said during the forum.

He mentioned the Philippines is renowned across the world for its highly skilled and dynamic workforce. Filipinos are service-oriented, easy to train, and have a high command of the English language. The Philippines has a remarkable supply of raw materials and natural resources that make it so attractive to foreign investors.

He noted for many years now, a high percentage of Korea’s raw items are sourced from abroad, specifically from neighboring countries, to produce and export quality good across the globe.

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