THE country’s trade relationship with Russia is expected to further improve next year with the second staging of the Philippine Russian Business Forum and Exhibition on Oct. 21-24 at the Cebu International Convention Center in Mandaue City.
Russia is the Philippines’ largest trading partner in Eastern Europe with the highest total trade recorded at $396.360 million way back in 2004. In 2005, the total trade started to decline by an average of 14.55% and improved only last year, four months after the inaugural Philippine Russian Business Forum.
The Philippine’s trade with Russia inched back near the 300-million-dollar mark at the close of 2009, arriving at $289.383 million from $165.598 million in 2008, increasing by 74.75%, although Forum organizers won’t claim credit for the huge growth.
Philippine exports to Russia also increased by 15.21%, reaching $39.086 million in 2009 compared to $33.925 million recorded a year earlier.
Unfortunately, the balance of trade, which has always been substantially in favor of Russia, likewise ballooned as the Philippines’ total imports inclined by 90.09% from $131.673 million to $250.296 million for a wide deficit of $211.210 million.
This extensive trade balance margin needs to be addressed, according to the Filipino organizers of the Forum which is a joint undertaking of the Philippine Russian Business Assembly, Embassy of the Russian Federation, and the Philippine Exhibits and Themeparks Corporation (PETCO).
“This situation poses a challenge for us to encourage the export of higher-value Philippine products to Russia to balance the trade between our two countries,” Armi Lopez Garcia, honorary Russian consul to the Visayas, said.
According to Garcia, products the Philippines can promote for the Russian market include gifts, toys and housewares, furniture, electronics, information and technology services, construction materials, food and beverages, automotive parts, sports footwear and travel bags, gold and silver jewelries, and twine and cordage.
Philippine exports to Russia currently composed of semiconductors and electronic products, transport equipment, garments, copper products, petroleum products, coconut oil, and fruits.
Filipino exporters are enjoined to participate in the 2nd Philippine Russian Business Forum and Exhibition which can help them search out proper partners and market their goods and services in Russia.
Organizers are also inviting Russian investments into the Philippines, specifically in agri-business, health and wellness, information and communication technology, electronics, motor vehicle, energy, infrastructure, tourism, shipbuilding and shipping, jewelry, fashion garments, mining, and exports.
The 2010 Philippine Russian Business Forum and Exhibition is being held in cooperation with the Province of Cebu, City of Mandaue, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Tourism, Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Cebu Business Club, and the Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry.