Filipino Leaders Visit Silicon Valley to Foster Tech Linkages

Asia Philippines ASEAN

Representatives from the Philippines’ public and private sectors attended the 2023 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in San Francisco, California, from January 5-8. CES calls itself the “most influential tech event in the world,” with over 3,200 exhibitors representing 173 countries, territories, and regions. The Philippine delegation’s goals included strengthening trade linkages between the Philippines and United States, promoting Philippine businesses, promoting the country’s domestic innovation, and gaining information on cutting-edge technologies.

The Philippines Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary, Rafaelita Aldaba, Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary for Research and Development Leah Buendia, and Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT) Undersecretary for Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Industry Development Jocelle Batapa-Sigue, led the government side of the delegation. Dr. Danilo Lachica, president of the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation (SEIPI), led business representatives at the event.

The full delegation visited various businesses and research centers, such as Supermicro, the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute at the University of California Berkeley, and Astranis. The delegation also held a World Electronics Forum meeting on January 7 and a “Make it Happen in the Philippines: Your Gateway to Southeast Asia,” networking session on January 10.

The United States is the Philippines’ largest export destination according to the East-West Center’s Philippines Matters for America publication. Integrated circuits are currently the Philippines’ top export, soaring by nearly 43% from 2015 to 2020. California receives the largest share of Philippine Greenfield investment in the United States, with 29% of total US investment in the Golden State.

This visit comes amid increasing trade linkages between the United States and the Philippines. Last year, Philippine Special Envoy to the US for Trade and Investments, Jose E.B. Antonio, referenced “new and amended business laws,” intended to increase foreign investment.

The United States is also set to open the United States Trade and Development Agency in Manila early in 2023 to further enhance trade ties with the Philippines. U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson said the impetus for the Agency’s establishment was “to meet the demands of the Philippine market and in recognition of the potential in the Philippine economy.” The Agency will conduct feasibility studies on key sectors so US investors can navigate the local business environment.

Lastly, the US-based Semiconductor Industry Association, led by President and Chief Executive Officer John Neuffer and its Vice President for Global Policy, Jimmy Goodrich, met with the Philippines Trade Undersecretary and Board of Investments (BOI) Managing Head, Ceferino Rodolfo, on January 16, 2022 to discuss semiconductor supply chain opportunities. The recently passed CHIPS and Science Act in the United States incentivizes the manufacturing of semiconductors domestically but allows for the possibility of partnerships with other stages of the semiconductor supply chain, such as testing or assembly.

Angelo Paule is a participant in the Young Professionals Program at the East-West Center in Washington. He received his Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science degree at the University of Guam.