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Duterte's 'priority market': Phillippines strike deals worth $12.6 million with Russia, including nuclear power plant option

Duterte's 'priority market': Phillippines strike deals worth $12.6 million with Russia, including nuclear power plant option
The Philippines have signed 10 trade and investment agreements with Russia amounting to some $12.6 million. From seafood to car exports, these include a deal to explore nuclear power plant construction possibilities.

10 trade agreements were concluded. Thanks to the good relations between governments and business, we are confident that we can expand our cooperation,” the Philippines’ Minister of Trade and Industry Ramon Lopez said after the signing ceremony on Friday. He also noted a huge potential in trade and investment cooperation since the “markets have not been really maximized in the past.”

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[The $12.6 million increase] is just the beginning of our strengthening ties with the Russian investors and tapping into the Russian market as we look into non-traditional market for our export products. But at least it has started. Since our export base to Russia is less than $100 million so far, getting this 12 million is already a 10-percent growth,” Lopez noted.

Among the agreements signed this week were deals to supply seafood and coconut milk products to Russia’s major food retailers and two agreements that will make Philippine based Lifetruck International Inc. an exclusive distributor of Sturmanskie watches and Kamaz vehicles in the island nation. There was also a deal on promotion and sale of Russia’s IPP-NLS technologies in the Philippines.

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The Philippines’ Department of Energy also inked an agreement with Russia’s state atomic energy corporation Rosatom to jointly explore the prospects of constructing nuclear power plants in the Philippines. Earlier this week Rosatom’s director-general Alexei Likhachev outlined several possibilities the company is eyeing for joint work with the Philippines in the nuclear sphere. These include the reboot of the existing power plant, construction of another “large capacity” on-land station or the set-up of small-capacity floating nuclear-power plants. The existing plant he mentioned was built in the Philippines in 1980s in response to an energy crisis, but it never went into operation.

Both Russia and the Philippines say bilateral trade had doubled last year to nearly $1.4 billion, largely due to a fourfold increase in Russia's exports to the Philippines. The Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte called Russia “a priority trade and investment market for the Philippines”.

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