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Indian firms pledge $1.25-B worth of investments for PH

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and India Prime Minister Narendra Modi witness the ceremonial exchange of signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez and India Ministry of External Affairs Secretary (East) Preeti Saran following the successful bilateral meeting at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India on January 24, 2018. The MOU is on the Philippines’ Board of Investment and Invest India. KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

NEW DELHI— Top Indian conglomerates pledged about $1.25 billion worth of investments that may generate 10,000 new jobs in the Philippines on the sidelines of President Duterte’s attendance at a regional summit with Indian and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) leaders here.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said on Thursday the investment commitments came in the form of seven letters of intent (LOIs) and two memorandums of understanding (MOUs) with “big and major conglomerates” that were keen on entering the Philippine market or expanding their operations there.

Most of the estimated gains will come from the renewable energy sector, particularly Adani Green Energy, which plans to put in $1 billion to build solar and wind power generation projects in the Philippines, the official told a briefing.

“They are the biggest in India,” Lopez said of the firm known for making solar panels.

“Their plan is to expand its operation to the Philippines in particular focusing on the renewable energy, building solar panels… And, of course, there is investment commitment and the jobs to be generated. So they are now looking for sites for the solar and the wind-based power generation,” he added.

Lopez said some 3,000 jobs could be created in the renewable energy sector.

The biggest labor windfall, however, might be in the form of 10,000 new jobs created per year for six years in the IT-business processing management industry under agreements signed with Indian companies, Lopez said.

He said an MOU was signed between the National Association of Software and Services Companies of India and the IT Business Processing Association of the Philippines.

“This pertains to the development and growth of the global IT-BPM industry in our country so this basically includes mutual assistance and cooperation for the promotion and development of the industry,” Lopez said.

Lopez said the Indian side could not immediately commit to any investment amount in writing.

“They committed employment but they are reluctant to give actual numbers in writing. What they are committing is expansion and the number of jobs generated,” he said.

A 50-member Philippine business delegation came with Lopez for the series of meetings with Indian companies here ahead of Mr. Duterte’s participation in the India-Asean Commemorative Summit, which was set to begin Thursday.

Shortly after the Philippine leader arrived here on Wednesday afternoon, he sat with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a cordial bilateral discussion that lasted an hour.

“The two leaders agreed on expanding bilateral ties on all fronts. This includes business as well as security and even military cooperation,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in the same briefing.

Mr. Duterte noted the growing business ties between the Philippines and India and “singled out in particular that Indian companies in partnership with Philippine companies won the bidding for two very big airport projects in Cebu as well as in Clark.”

“He called for further cooperation in the pharmaceutical industry as well as in business outsourcing industry,” Roque said. /je

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