DAVAO CITY — Davao Region and other parts of Mindanao stand to benefit from expanded trade as outlined by the inaugural Joint Commission on Economic Cooperation (JCEC) between Hungary and the Philippines, particularly in terms of investment promotion, manufacturing, information and communications technology (ICT), education, culture, tourism and sports.

“With the bilateral agreements signed, markets are now open for our entrepreneurs to explore new opportunities and develop business-to-business partnerships… to spur economic growth,” Mindanao Honorary Consul for Hungary Mary Ann M. Montemayor said in an interview with BusinessWorld last week.

Ms. Montemayor said the opening of the Consulate of Hungary in Davao City in October 2018 recognizes the southern island’s role in expanding the economic cooperation between both countries.

“We hope that Davao could provide valuable opportunities in deepening the economic engagement of Hungary in the country and develop a mutually rewarding partnership,” she said.

The Philippines and Hungary convened the inaugural JCEC on April 2-3 in Budapest.

The discussions were led by Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo and István Joó, Deputy State Secretary for Export Development of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary.

“They identified key fields of interest that are our region’s strengths and these are trade and investment promotion, manufacturing, ICT, education, culture, tourism and sports,” Ms. Montemayor said.

Investment opportunities for automotives, electronics, and food and non-food trade were also discussed.

Private sector representatives talked about their respective markets and potential partnerships.

Among the government-to-government documents signed were: a Memorandum of Intent between the Philippine Board of Investments and the Hungarian Investment Promotion Agency; a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Philippine International Trading Corp. and the Hungarian Export Promotion Agency; and an MoU on sports development between the Philippine Sports Commission and the Ministry of Human Capacities of Hungary. — Maya M. Padillo