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12 December 2017

Ambassador Jose Manuel G. Romualdez delivers his remarks at the welcome luncheon hosted by the US-ASEAN Business Council at the St. Regis Hotel on 11 December 2017.

WASHINGTON, D.C.— "The friendship and partnership between our governments and our peoples continue to be an unfinished project. Our task is to build upon the strong foundations of the past in order to achieve a common future of mutual prosperity."

This was the key message delivered by Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose Manuel “Babe” G. Romualdez to the US business community during a series of welcome events organized by the US-Philippines Society, US-ASEAN Business Council, and the US Chamber of Commerce.

“Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter Cayetano impressed upon me the importance of building on his successful visit to Washington together with the Duterte Administration’s economic managers. It is my intention to follow up on mutual efforts to advance the core economic interests of our two countries,” Ambassador Romualdez said in a statement.

The various welcome events provided the Ambassador an opportunity to meet with key US government officials dealing with trade and commerce, as well as with senior representatives of the US business community. Ambassador Romualdez provided brief updates on the Philippine economy, such as the strong GDP growth for 2017, progress on tax reform, and the country’s recent credit upgrade by Fitch Ratings. He also made a strong pitch for US participation in the massive infrastructure program of the Philippine Government, including support for the rehabilitation of Marawi City.

"The United States and the Philippines have longstanding trade and investment ties. In fact, one of the oldest American Chambers of Commerce overseas is in the Philippines. Manila has undertaken positive, significant economic reform in recent years, including improving intellectual property protection and opening new sectors to foreign investment. As the Philippine economy continues to grow, American businesses are optimistic about new market opportunities and encourage continued progress on economic reform,” said Jim Fatheree, Vice President for Asia at the US Chamber of Commerce, which hosted a luncheon for the Philippine envoy on 12 December.

There was strong interest from the business community in the results of the formal bilateral meeting between President Rodrigo Duterte and President Donald Trump on the sidelines of the 2017 ASEAN Summit. Ambassador Romualdez also gave his observations on the recent TIFA meeting between the Philippines and the United States that addressed a wide range of economic issues, among them the interest of the Philippines to negotiate a bilateral free trade agreement.

“Ambassador Romualdez arrives at a significant moment for US-Philippine relations.  With Presidents Trump and Duterte meeting in Manila last month, the important relationship between the Philippines and the United States will build on the positive nature of their meeting and the Philippines’ ASEAN Chairmanship.  The recently completed TIFA discussions as well as the 7th Bilateral Strategic Dialogue have built on this momentum,” Alexander Feldman, President of the US-ASEAN Business Council, said in a statement after hosting a welcome lunch for the Ambassador on 11 December.

Ambassador Romualdez’ arrival was warmly welcomed by the US business community as a positive development for our bilateral relations with the United States.

Ambassador Thomas C. Hubbard, US-Philippines Society founding director, said after hosting a welcome lunch on 8 December, "I am especially pleased with this appointment. I am certain he will work effectively with American counterparts in the government and private sector to strengthen bilateral ties, promote trade and investment, and forge cooperation in addressing the many regional and transnational threats facing the Philippines and the United States. Babe has deep experience in world affairs and the media, knows the US, and enjoys the confidence of Philippine government and private sector leaders across the board.”

“Ambassador Romualdez’ experience and understanding of the United States will help propel these initiatives in 2018 and the US-ASEAN business Council looks forward to working closely with the Ambassador to further strengthen US- Philippine commercial, trade and investment ties,” Mr. Feldman added.

The Ambassador expressed appreciation for all the best wishes extended to him during the welcome events, and expressed the hope that the US business community will be important partners in strengthening the economic, people-to-people and political ties between the Philippines and the United States.

“I am happy to do my part for my country here in Washington, and to be with partners who believe in our two countries’ shared story; partners who nurture the friendship between our two peoples; and partners who are committed to our mutual prosperity,” Ambassador Romualdez said. ###

WDC -122- 2017
12 December 2017

The US-Philippines Society led by its executive officers hosted a welcome lunch for Ambassador Jose Manuel G. Romualdez on 08 December 2017.

WDC -123- 2017
12 December 2017

Jim Fatheree, Vice President for Asia at the US Chamber of Commerce and Ambassador Romualdez at a welcome lunch hosted by the former for the Philippine envoy on 12 December 2017.