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US delegation commends PH energy investment climate

Presidential Trade and Investment Mission
(From left) Department of Information and Communications Technology Secretary Ivan John Uy, Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) Lead Convenor and Aboitiz Group President and CEO Sabin Aboitiz, and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo along with US delegates during the Presidential Trade and Investment Mission last March 11, 2024.

The investment climate in the Philippines is encouraging particularly in the energy sector, according to United States Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. High-level meetings took place between top US business leaders and Philippine business groups during the first US Presidential Trade and Investment Mission (PTIM) held last March 11-12. Sec. Raimondo lauded the country’s efforts in ramping up renewable energy investments and exploring potential nuclear power projects.

Sec. Raimondo headed a delegation of 22 US industry leaders to build relationships and collaborate with Philippine businesses organized by the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC). Among the US companies represented were geothermal energy producer Greenfire Energy Inc, solar panel solutions provider Sol-Go, and global nuclear technology leader Ultra Safe Nuclear Corporation (USNC). Raimondo noted that her delegation, representing the energy, infrastructure and information communications and technology sectors, saw promise in funneling more investments and projects into the country.

“Many of the companies that have joined me here have specific projects in mind in these sectors and I can tell you they are very encouraged by what they’ve heard,” she said. She also praised the country’s policy shift to allow more foreign investment in energy projects.

“I want to commend the Philippine government for the Renewable Energy Act which allows for 100% foreign ownership in exploration, development and use of solar, wind, hydro, and ocean energy resources. This is huge. That alone ought to unlock a massive amount of U.S. capital in this country in those areas.”

She also highlighted the government’s openness to possible nuclear energy investments. In November 2023, the Philippines signed the PH-USA 123 agreement, a legal framework and bilateral agreement between the US and the Philippines to cooperate in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

“The one, two, three nuclear agreement (last) November will also stimulate more investment,” Raimondo added. The agreement is named after Section 123 of the United States Atomic Energy Act, which establishes the terms and conditions under which one country can provide another with nuclear technology, materials, and equipment for peaceful purposes such as electricity generation.

Notably, the government has made recent overtures to nuclear energy experts and organizations to signal its openness to the possibility of adopting nuclear energy. Through the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), there are ongoing discussions about the viability of nuclear energy production in the country, including talks to retrofit or upgrade existing power plants to be nuclear-capable. Exploratory studies are being done to determine the necessary technology and groundwork required for its possible adoption, including the use of Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) as low-carbon energy sources.

“LNG and nuclear energy are pivotal steps on the path to a sustainable future. They are not just alternatives, but realistic and impactful solutions that can help us transition from traditional fossil fuels to cleaner, more reliable, and more affordable energy,” said PSAC lead convenor and Aboitiz Group President and CEO Sabin M. Aboitiz.

In October of last year, during the ABAC Nuclear Energy Transition roundtable, ABAC Philippines and ABAC Canada convened to determine the viability of nuclear energy in the Philippines and the financing mechanisms required for possible transition, among other valuable points discussed.

About Private Sector Advisory Council

President Ferdinand Bongbong Marcos Jr. strategically established the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC) to create and strengthen innovative new synergies between the private and public sectors. The PSAC comprises business leaders and experts from six main sectoral groups: Agriculture, Digital Infrastructure, Jobs, Healthcare, Build-Build-Build, and Tourism.

The Council helps the government deliver on its commitment to transform the Philippine economy by implementing robust infrastructure programs, creating more jobs and attracting more investors, digitizing processes, and improving agricultural productivity through the recalibration of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), jumpstart Philippine Tourism and ensuring an equitable, sustainable, and inclusive business landscape for Filipinos.

PSAC will continuously recommend modern policy development to the government and report regularly to the President to provide feedback and adjust recommendations based on what is happening on the ground.

Follow PSAC on Twitter to get the latest news as it breaks: https://twitter.com/PSAC_PH.

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