QATAR and the Philippines have agreed to approve an Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) within the year, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.

“The entry into force of the IPPA is expected to significantly deepen the economic ties between the Philippines and Qatar,” Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said in a statement on Wednesday. 

The parties to the IPPA negotiations are the DTI and Qatar’s Minister of Commerce and Industry.

“We are confident that finalizing the ratification process will translate into productive investment figures contributing to our mutually shared prosperity,” Mr. Pascual added.

According to the DTI, the Philippines has completed the domestic procedures for moving forward with the agreement, while Qatar is finalizing the Arabic version of the IPPA, which it needs for their own ratification process.

The IPPA was signed in 2017 during the visit of former President Rodrigo R. Duterte to Qatar.

Mr. Pascual discussed the ratification process with Qatar Minister of Commerce and Industry Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hamad Bin Qassim Al-Abdullah Al-Thani on the sidelines of this week’s Qatar Economic Forum.

Aside from agreeing to ratify the IPPA within the year, the two sides also agreed to pursue a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to cooperate on intellectual property rights protection.

Under the partnership, both countries will exchange information, best practices, and training programs and conduct high-level dialogues on intellectual property policy to help address concerns about the proliferation of fake Philippine brands in the Middle East.

“The Philippine delegation expressed concern about the proliferation of counterfeits in the Middle East, including Qatar,” the department said.

“They said enhanced cooperation on intellectual property rights protection, including the proposed MoU, would address these concerns and create a more fair and secure environment,” it added.

The two sides also agreed to organize a business forum and a business-to-business matching session on the sidelines of the Philippines-Qatar Joint Economic, Commercial, and Technical Committee, which is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2025.

“We are pleased with the progress made in this meeting, and we are positive that the finalization of the IPPA ratification process will soon pave the way for its full implementation,” Mr. Pascual said. — Justine Irish D. Tabile