US AMBASSADOR to the Philippines MaryKay L. Carlson — MAYA M. PADILLO

DAVAO CITY — Eight US agricultural companies will visit Davao in September, US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay L. Carlson said on Friday.

Ms. Carlson said the delegation is seeking investment and trade opportunities in the region, which is a major producer of Philippine agricultural exports.

“Agriculture is the strength of this region. A trade mission is coming next month, big firms like John Deere. I go back to agriculture because you have such a great advantage here when it comes to agriculture and I know that you gain a lot of foreign exchange from export of agricultural products,” she told BusinessWorld at the Park Inn by Radisson Davao.

“The US is the largest export market for the Philippines. Of the services and products you are sending overseas, the greatest destination is in the US,” she added.

Beyond trade and investment, Ms. Carlson said the US sees opportunities to work with the Philippines through its foreign aid organization.

“In some areas, we hear President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. speaks often about the importance of food security and nutrition security. I think there is a lot that we can do in this area through USAID (the US Agency for International Development).”

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. met with US businesses in Washington, DC, during his four-day visit to the US in May.

Ms. Carlson cited the strong people-to-people ties with the Philippines as the basis for building the relationship further, noting the large numbers of Filipino students in the US, the significant Filipino-American population, and the 350,000 Americans living in the Philippines. — Maya M. Padillo