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07/09/2013: PH Urged to Take Advantage of Energy Boom in North Dakota

7 September 2013

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The Philippines should take a second look at North Dakota because of the numerous trade and investment opportunities the fastest growing state economy in the United States now has to offer, the Philippine Embassy said today.

“North Dakota has made tremendous strides in the past several years and now offers great trade and investment potentials that the Philippines must take advantage of,” Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. said after returning from a three-day economic diplomacy outreach to Bismark and Fargo.

The outreach, which was made upon the invitation of Gov. Jack Dalrymple, was part of preparations for the scheduled visit to Manila in February of a trade and investment mission from North Dakota.

“Governor Dalrymple, Commissioner of Agriculture Doug Goehring and Commissioner of Commerce Allan Anderson have all expressed their keen interest in expanding the trade relationship between North Dakota and the Philippines,” Ambassador Cuisia said.

“We also assured the State of North Dakota of a fruitful trade and investment mission to the Philippines,” Ambassador Cuisia said as he thanked Governor Dalrymple for opening the door for trade, investment, and partnerships between the State and the Philippines.

According to the US Department of Commerce, North Dakota is No. 1 in the list of the fastest growing states in the US after it posted a GDP growth rate of 13.4 percent last year, owing largely to an energy boom that also allowed it to not only lower the unemployment rate to 3 percent but also cut income tax rate several times.

The North Dakota Trade Office coordinated the visit, which included various activities such as a business forum where Ambassador Cuisia, along with Commercial Counselor Maria Roseni M. Alvero and Agricultural Attache Dr. Josyline C. Javelosa, promoted the Philippines as an investment and trade destination.

In the one-on-one meetings with representatives from at least 25 local companies, the team discussed opportunities for investments in agriculture, value-added foods, particularly soy-based products, energy and infrastructure in the Philippines.

Ambassador Cuisia said coconut products, both for human consumption such as coconut sugar, virgin coconut oil and coconut water and for industrial use, particularly coco coir geotextile for agricultural and environmental management purposes, would also find a good market in the North Dakota.

Ambassador Cuisia also visited the North Dakota State University where he discussed possible opportunities for student exchanges, research programs and scholarships for deserving Filipino agriculture students.

The ambassador also visited the Northern Crop Institute, which, he said could be a good model for the Philippines as it provides companies with the necessary technical assistance to develop applications for agricultural products.

Ambassador Cuisia was also honored with warm salo-salos hosted by the Filipino-American community in Fargo and Bismarck who were pleasantly surprised because they did not expect to see the Philippine ambassador coming to a small state like North Dakota.  According to Embassy estimates, there are only about 900 Filipinos in all of North Dakota. ###