SUBIC BAY FREEPORT – A South Korean delegation visited this free port to help promote trade and boost tourism in the two Asian nations under the auspices of the ASEAN-Korea Centre. Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Chairman Roberto Garcia welcomed the Korean delegates headed by Ambassador Hae Moon Chung during a business-to-business networking last Friday at the Subic Gateway Park here.
The event provided a venue for business discussions between the Korean businessmen and investors located at the Subic Bay Freeport. In a meeting with Garcia, Chung explained that the ASEAN-Korea Centre serves as the de facto chamber of commerce and tourism center for ASEAN-member countries in Seoul. He said that the center is active in conducting business-to-business networking and investment seminars for ASEAN countries.
He then invited Garcia to visit the center in Korea in order to promote tourism and invite interested investors to Subic. Chung also noted the well-maintained facilities and structures left by the US Navy at the former naval base here, saying it was like stepping into another page of history.
Meanwhile, Atty. Ruel John Kabigting, officer in charge of the SBMA Business and Investment Group, said that the Korean group’s visit will encourage and motivate the people from the SBMA to do their job better. “This is indicative of (the Koreans’) continuing trust and commitment to the Philippines in exploring business possibilities for our mutual benefit,” Kabigting said.
He also noted that South Korea is a major trading parter of the Philippines and both governments have established bilateral agreements. South Korea also generated the highest number of tourist arrivals in the Philippines in recent years, with more than half a million visitors arriving in 2010.
According to Ronnie Yambao, SBMA manager for Manufacturing and Maritime Business Development, the business-to-business networking is a platform utilized by several investment promotion agencies to promote their respective investment promotion areas, and SBMA is highly supportive of this initiative. Yambao also said that the SBMA continues to provide avenues and areas of cooperation between Korean investors and Subic business locators for them to explore business opportunities wherein they can be profitable and continue to forge different areas of cooperation.
The business-to-business networking was organized by the Philippine Trade and Investment Center and the ASEAN-Korea Centre.