The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is pushing for greater bilateral cooperation in barter trade between the Philippines and Malaysia to support the promotion of the Halal industry and strengthen collaboration between member states of the Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines-East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA) sub-region.
“We should really make these areas of cooperation work as it will create and bring more economic activities to both Filipinos and Malaysians. The barter trade as well as the BIMP-EAGA will mean a lot to our people,” DTI secretary Ramon Lopez said during a dialogue with Malaysia’s Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Ignatius Darell Leiking on March 8.
Both ministers expressed the need to focus on developing ASEAN’s sub-regions, including BIMP-EAGA.
Lopez conveyed the ongoing progress in the revival of the barter trade system in Basilan, Sulu, and Tawi-Tawi areas (BASULTA). Resumption of the system has the objective of providing more livelihood and income opportunities to small coastal communities, especially in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi. Likewise, Lopez underscored the Philippines’ potential in Halal industry and the opportunities the Philippine Halal sector offers to Malaysian consumers.
Officials from Malaysia’s Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) noted that apart from electronics, top Malaysian imports from the Philippines include processed food, which could be a strong start for Halal promotions.
In 2018, Malaysia stood as the Philippines’ 10th largest trading partner, 11th export market, and ninth top import supplier. Total bilateral trade amounted to US$6 billion in 2018 compared to $5.5 billion in 2017.
DTI will head a delegation that will attend the Malaysia International Halal Showcase in April. “This kind of activities [is] very important to PH as the country is still beginning to recognize its potentials in the Halal industry and would learn much from big economies, like Malaysia,” Lopez said.
MITI officials also conveyed the interest of many Malaysian companies to participate in the Philippine government’s massive infrastructure projects as well as to avail of the assistance extended to companies intending to invest in the Philippines.