Vibrant trade relations, initially among nine Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) economies, but expanding eventually to all its members, are expected to create employment opportunities for more Filipinos following the successful 2015 APEC Leaders’ Meeting which the Philippines hosted last week.


Labor and Employment Secretary Rosalinda Dimapilis-Baldoz made this confident observation yesterday in the wake of several bilateral meetings of President Benigno S. Aquino III as the Philippines’ leader-host of the APEC.


“The bilateral meetings of the Philippines resulted to identification of potential investment areas and employment opportunities, and bodes well for stronger trade relations with APEC member-economies that could spell export opportunities for Philippine products and services,” Secretary Baldoz said in a news release.


“Around 87,000 Filipino workers will be in demand in our trading partners, such as Japan, Papua New Guinea, US, Australia, Canada, Japan, Korea and New Zealand, with US and Japan needing the most number of Filipino talents,” Baldoz added.


Starting off with Japan, Baldoz said there is an opportunity to expand demand for Filipino professionals, relax entry requirements, and effect improvements in the training and working conditions of Filipino health workers through the PJEPA. Japan also deregulated the entry of foreign Household Service Workers in Special Economic Zones, on live-out arrangement, and is expected to be piloted in Osaka and Kanagawa prefectures by end of this year.


She said the bilateral meeting of President Aquino III with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe could pave the way for more Japanese investments in the country’s copper mining industry and manufacturing sector, specifically for auto parts, printer, and printing parts, and medical devices, as well as investments in the services sector, particularly on IT-BPM and gaming development.


For its part, Philippine exports to Japan of photosensitive semi-conductor devices,photovoltaic cells, ignition wiring sets, and other wiring devices used in vehicles, aircraft, ships, and other transport vessels could increase, including exports of copper ores and concentrates, woodjoinery, and carpentry.Moreover, the PJEPA is expected to improve market access for Philippine meat, bananas, pineapples, tuna, and raw cane sugar to the Japanese market.


With the US, the Philippines’ largest trading partner, Filipino workers will benefit more from American investments in the IT-BPM sector, food manufacture, and design-driven products, while the country could expect increased exports of coconut oil, digital monolithic integrated circuits, storage units, staticconverters, ignition wiring sets and other wiring devices used in vehicles, aircraft, or ships.It is worth mentioning that the US continues to support the Philippines’new flagship reform program, the Labor Law Compliance System, and anti-Child Labor program through the DOLE.


Baldoz also sees enhanced bilateral trade relations with Canada, citing the latter’s support to the Philippines’ youth employability program, JobStart Philippines, to increase placement rate of “at risk” youth to 80 percent from the current 60-65 percent and to shorten their school-to-work transition.


“We have also forged agreements on bilateral labor cooperation with four Canadian provinces to ensure safe, legal and ethical recruitment of workers; and MOU on technical cooperation on safety and health, and these augurs well for our workers going to Canada to work,” she said.

Korean investments in the country in shipbuilding, automotive manufacturing, electronics manufacturing, agribusiness, renewable energy, banking and finance, tourism, infrastructure, and other labor intensive industries, such as shoes, jewelry and garments could open up a lot of job opportunities and trade, Baldoz also said.


These could pave for more Philippine exports to Korea, such as crude petroleum oils and oils obtained from bituminous minerals, digital monolithic integrated circuits, copper ores and concentrates, bananas, and tobacco.


Baldoz said potential Australian investments in processed food and agribusiness, IT-BPM, engineering services, infrastructure and other private-public partnership projects, auto parts exports, and manufacturing could perk up more job opportunities for Filipinos.


“We see the Philippines exhibiting healthy exports of paper and paperboard products, semi-manufactured forms of gold, lead acid for starting piston engines, heat exchange units, and static converters to Australia. She noted that the two countries have inked a Memorandum of Understanding covering exchange of information on Technical Vocational Education and Training systems, joint implementation of collaborative projects, and facilitation of links between governments, industry organizations, and TVET bodies.


Filipino skilled workers and professionals would also benefit from investments of Papua New Guinea in infrastructure, IT-BPM, shipbuilding, energy, and agribusiness in the Philippines, as well as in cannery, consulting, engineering, building and construction, services sector, retail, ports development, air services, agriculture and agro- industries. On the other hand, Philippine exports to PNG of tuna, skipjack, and bonito; other non-inflatable rowing boats, canoes, and vessels, sports; stoppers, caps and lids, capsules for bottles, and sealants and other accessories, fishing nets, and other confectionery products are expected to also increase.


Finally, with New Zealand, Baldoz said the landmark labor cooperation agreement, “Arrangement on the Principles and Controls on the Recruitment and Protection of Filipino Workers in New Zealand” on the implementation of a zero placement fee and protection of skilled and professional Filipino migrant workers, among other measures on ethical and fair recruitment could pave the way for more employment opportunities for Filipinos in that country.


In the domestic market, New Zealand’s potential investments in processed food and agribusiness, IT-BPM services, engineering services, infrastructure and other public-private partnership projects, auto parts exports/ and manufacturing, could create more local employment opportunities.Philippine exports to New Zealand, such as banana, salmon, sacks and bags, other instruments and apparatus for telecommunications, and lead acid for starting piston engines could also post gains.


“These potential investment and employment opportunities are tangible outcomes of the Philippines’ hosting and active participation in the APEC. We at the DOLE supports the inclusive growth strategy of the APEC region by expanding access to opportunities and enabling people to realize their full potential, which will result to more productive employment opportunities, dynamic economic growth, and greater well-being,” said Baldoz.



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