Government hungers for Hungarian tied-loan for major projects


THE Philippine government aims to secure a “tied aid loan package” from the Hungarian government to finance water and disaster risk-reduction projects.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced in a statement Manila and Budapest also agreed to continue earlier discussions in select areas through the Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation (JCEC) and Hungary’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The areas of cooperation cover trade, investments and manufacturing, water management, agriculture, food safety, education, transport, healthcare, culture and sports. 

According to the DTI, discussions at the JCEC level continued to finalize the relevant agreements to avail of a tied aid loan package to implement the projects of the Laguna Lake Development Authority and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.

The DTI added that the projects include an online water quality monitoring system in Laguna de Bay and its tributaries and the purchase of compact water treatment units for use during disasters and other emergencies.

The DTI said these projects are becoming increasingly important as the country responds to various environmental challenges and meet national sustainability goals. 

Tied loans refer to financial support for projects whose consultants, contractors, and supplies, among others, are sourced from companies chosen by a lending country.

“This third JCEC is not just an opportunity for both sides to follow though our earlier agreements and decisions, but more importantly, to sustain our collaboration in enhancing our relations to benefit our economies and our people,” DTI Undersecretary for Industry Development and Trade Policy Ceferino S. Rodolfo was quoted in a statement as saying.

“While there are many challenges arising because of the pandemic, we have to bear in mind that these strategic partnerships are necessary elements in building a strong foundation towards recovery,” Rodolfo said.

The DTI said that during the meeting, the Philippines and Hungary also agreed to pursue new collaborations, specifically in the areas of information and communications technology/digitalization, science, technology and innovation, energy, environment and technical and vocational education and training.

Towards the conclusion of the JCEC, three agreements were announced. These include the material transfer agreements of the Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences with the Bureau of Plant and Industry and Barangay Don Bosco, Parañaque City and the partnership agreement between Startup Campus Inkubator Plc., Hungary and QBO Innovation Hub.

The latter aims to capitalize on the rapidly growing start-up ecosystems in the country with government support in “high growth” services. 

“Clearly, there remains to be a lot of opportunities for both countries to take advantage of. As we face the task of economic recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, we hope to foster synergies based on each other’s strengths and our shared interests in the areas being discussed in the JCEC,” Rodolfo said.

Hungary reiterated their strong support to the Philippines as a beneficiary to the Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) of the European Union (EU).

The EU GSP+ is a unilateral trade arrangement which offers zero tariffs on more than 6,000 products to beneficiary countries exporting to the EU.

The country is also supportive of the resumption of the negotiations on the PH-EU Free Trade Agreement and remains as one of our strongest supporter in the EU. 

Hungary is ranked as 49th of the Philippines’s 225 trading partners in 2020.  It is the country’s 11th-largest export market in the EU. Additionally, Hungary is the Philippines 13th-largest export destination in the EU for GSP+ products.

Out of 144-million euro worth of Philippine products exported to Hungary, 10.83-million euro worth of Philippine exports used GSP+ preferences. Top export products to Hungary include electronics, machinery parts and accessories and storage units, among others.

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