As prepared

Good morning. I’m honored to be here today at this important moment in our countries’ partnership.

I’d like to extend a very warm thank you to Executive Director Ebb Hinchliffe for the kind invitation and introduction.

During President Marcos’ visit to Washington, D.C., last May, President Biden spoke of the need to continue expanding our engagement and cooperation in the Indo-Pacific on all issues of common concern. These include promoting inclusive and broad-based prosperity and investing in the clean energy transition, issues where my groups at the state department lead.

To achieve these common goals, the Biden-Harris Administration modernized and reinforced our alliances to meet urgent common challenges, from fighting climate change to strengthening our supply chains.

Through the Indo-Pacific Strategy, we are prioritizing a free, open, connected, prosperous, resilient, and secure region. One of the regional initiatives to do this is the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework, designed to strengthen supply chains and focus on key areas including facilitating trade, increasing the resilience of our supply chains, spurring the clean energy transition, and combatting corruption. We are proud to work on these goals with 13 diverse partner countries, including the Philippines. These countries together represent 40 percent of global GDP and 28 percent of global goods and services trade. In the months ahead, I’m looking forward to working together to make our economies freer, fairer, and more dynamic.

Government and business leaders from the United States, India, and across the Indo-Pacific region come together annually for the Indo-Pacific Business Forum to exchange ideas through conversations organized around three broad themes: economic recovery and resilience; climate action; and digital innovation. And this year, the sixth year, the forum will convene here in Manila with an online livestreamed component open to the public. We look forward to hosting the forum with the Philippines. As the premier U.S.-sponsored business event for the Indo-Pacific region, we’re excited to showcase U.S. economic engagement. We hope that you will participate in this event.

In addition to regional cooperation, I’m excited about the expansion of our bilateral economic ties. The numbers tell the story: with $12.5 billion in 2022, the United States is the Philippines’ top trading partner and one of the largest foreign investors in the Philippines. We collaborate closely on projects advancing nuclear energy, renewable energy, responsible and sound mining,

on critical mineral supply chains for clean energy technologies, and, most recently, on semiconductors.

Let me talk a bit more about the last point: the semiconductor manufacturing sector is the largest export-revenue generating segment of the Philippine economy. It has nearly 2.5 million direct and indirect employees and is the largest single contributor to the Philippine’s GDP. Industry contacts say 60 percent of investments in the local semiconductor manufacturing sector come from the United States, including from firms like Texas Instruments, Onsemi, Analog Devices, Amkor, and Teradyne. The country’s semiconductor assembly and test operations directly support American industry. Contacts note that many of the semiconductors produced in country feed the U.S. automotive industrial and consumer electronics manufacturing sectors. In short, the Philippines has a strong potential for growth in semiconductors, especially given the country’s educated workforce. We want to work with you to enhance an appropriate technical training, and support expansion of the semiconductor industry.

American companies are invested in the Philippines. Some have been active here for over a century, employing and professionally developing hundreds of thousands of Filipino employees. Collectively, U.S. companies have invested billions of dollars in the Philippines, integrating the country into global supply chains, creating high-quality jobs, fostering talent and innovation, and bringing world-class products and services to support the country’s development. Many of them are household names – Texas Instruments, Concentrix, Chevron, Proctor & Gamble, and Coca-Cola – and they are among the Philippines’ top exporters, biggest taxpayers, and largest employers.

I’ll give you a few specific examples of how U.S. business is engaging in the Philippines.

Concentrix, an American business services company specializing in customer engagement and business performance, is the largest private employer with 46 sites across the country.

Chevron’s investments and operations in the Philippines since 1917 — as the first American oil marketer — have helped to develop the country’s energy and petroleum industry. Chevron has 20 supply facilities in the Philippines, including major terminals and depots, and nearly 600 service stations across the country. It also supports programs that assist small businesses and offer training in agriculture, fisheries, and home industries.

Coca-Cola has also worked in the Philippines for more than a century. It currently employs over 10,000 Filipinos in more than 19 manufacturing facilities and over 60 distribution centers across the country. Coca-Cola has also supported safe water access programs in over 200 communities and empowered over 200,000 women entrepreneurs through training and peer mentoring.

As they invest, American companies also look to the Philippines to create the regulatory environment, based on international best practices, that will help them do business. We are

always happy to meet and discuss with the Philippine government ways to strengthen economic resilience, and are committed to deepening our strong relationships with the Philippines. I have urged leaders during my visit to work closely with U.S. companies to make sure they can invest with confidence in the Philippines.

We appreciate your leadership in promoting a business climate where American companies can thrive and make positive contributions to the Philippines’ economic growth and development and all you do to strengthen the linkages between our two nations.

Thank you for all you do and for being the best ambassadors for our values.

U.S. Department of State

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