PRESIDENT Rodrigo R. Duterte is set to meet with Thai business leaders on the sidelines of the 34th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit in Bangkok and invite them to do business in the Philippines, Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said on Friday.

Malacañang said Mr. Duterte was scheduled to depart for Bangkok Friday afternoon to attend the ASEAN Summit — which is chaired this year by Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha —from June 22 to 23.

In a televised press briefing in Bangkok on Friday morning, Mr. Lopez said there are no deals to be signed at the summit.

“Well, the President is scheduled to meet a group of Thai businessmen, members and basically leaders of the federation of Thai industries, business chambers in Thailand as well as private companies who are in banks, food manufacturing, agriculture or agribusiness, real estate,” Mr. Lopez said.

He said the meeting will be an “open discussion that will basically allow the President to present the Philippines as a very good investment destination.”

He also noted that some of these companies are already operating in the Philippines.

“So, we are basically asking them to be more active and increase their exposures and their investments,” he said.

Mr. Lopez said the President will “assure” the Thai businessmen the “protection of their investments.”

To convince the business leaders, Mr. Lopez said the President will present to them the economic achievements of his administration, including S&P Global Ratings’ recent sovereign credit rating upgrade to BBB+ from BBB and reforms being undertaken like the “liberalization of foreign investment” policies.

He added that Mr. Duterte will also tout the country’s robust economic growth. — ALB