Spain offers 300-M euro financing to Philippines for infra, tourism projects

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III welcomed Spain’s offer of a financing facility of up to 300 million euros to support government projects in the areas of infrastructure, agro-food and tourism.

Spanish Ambassador-Designate Jorge Moragas informed Dominguez during their recent meeting about the proposed memorandum of understanding (MOU) on the mechanisms involving this 300-million euro facility and another agreement on economic and financial cooperation between Manila and Madrid.

Moragas also expressed Spain’s interest in investing in President Duterte`s centerpiece “Build, Build, Build" program, especially in railway projects.

Dominguez said Spain and its companies are most welcome to take part in the 75 flagship projects under "Build, Build, Build," particularly in providing rolling stock and other equipment for the rail projects in Metro Manila and Luzon.

During the meeting, Dominguez also took the opportunity to thank Spain for pledging last November an additional $50 million (P2.619 billion) for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the damaged city of Marawi in Mindanao.

Spain’s pledge is on top of the technical assistance it had provided to government agencies in preparation for the implementation of projects under the Bangon Marawi Comprehensive Rehabilitation and Recovery Program (BMCRRPP).

The proposed MOU on economic and financial cooperation between the Republic of the Philippines and the Kingdom of Spain aims to further enhance the bilateral relations between the two countries through the creation of a Joint Intergovernmental Committee (Joint Committee) that will identify opportunities for cooperation in such fields as agriculture, transportation, basic infrastructure, disaster-risk finance, energy and environmental economics.

This joint panel will be composed of representatives from both countries, to be co-chaired by an undersecretary of the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Secretary of State of Trade of the Ministry of Economy, Industry and Competitiveness of Spain, with a representative from the Department of Finance (DOF) as member.

Meanwhile, the proposed MOU on the mechanisms for the 300 million Euros financing facility covers possible projects in infrastructure, energy and renewable energy, telecommunication, water treatment, solid waste treatment, agro-food industry, and tourism sectors.

The MOU is currently being finalized by the Spanish Embassy and the DOF’s International Finance Group (IFG), which is headed by Undersecretary Mark Joven.

Total bilateral trade with Spain reached $652.32 million (or P33.99 billion) as of 2017.

Philippine exports to Spain in 2017 amounted to $212.2 million (or P11.05 billion), which is 16.2 percent higher than that in 2016. Spain ranked 26th among the markets for Philippine exports as of 2017.

The country’s total imports from Spain in 2017 amounted to $440 million (or P22.930 billion).