By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

TRADE MISSION. US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo is set to lead US President Joe Biden’s high-level trade and investment mission to the Philippines from March 11 to 12, the White House announced on Friday (Jan. 12, 2024). The trade mission follows on Biden’s commitment to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to advance US-Philippines economic ties and internationally recognized labor rights. (Photo courtesy of Secretary Raimondo/X)

MANILA – United States President Joe Biden is set to send his first trade and investment mission to the Philippines on March 11, the White House announced on Friday.

In a statement, White House National Security Council Spokesperson Adrienne Watson said the delegation would be led by Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo and will be in Manila until March 12 to engage with Filipino stakeholders.

“President Joseph R. Biden Jr. today announced he will send a Presidential Trade and Investment Mission to Manila, Philippines March 11-12, 2024 to enhance US companies’ contributions to the Philippines’ innovation economy, connective infrastructure, clean energy transition, critical minerals sector, and the food security of its people,” she said.

The visit, she added, would reinforce the Philippines as a “key hub for regional supply chains and high-quality investment.”

Watson said this trade mission follows on Biden’s commitment to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to advance US-Philippines economic ties and internationally recognized labor rights.

Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez earlier told the Philippine News Agency that a representative of the US International Development Financial Corp. (DFC) would also be part of the mission.

The envoy had previously disclosed that the US has offered assistance for the stalled Mindanao Railway Project, with financing expected to come from the DFC.

This Biden-curated trade mission also comes on the heels of the 123 Agreement signing, which will pave the way for nuclear power projects between the Philippines and American providers.

The 123 Agreement, signed in November 2023, allows the transfer of information, nuclear material, equipment, and components directly between the two states. (PNA)