(Bloomberg) – Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has said he can’t imagine his country without the United States as a partner, marking his strongest statements yet on the longstanding alliance undermined by his predecessor. .
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Marcos, who is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly, said he sees a “further strengthening” of political and economic ties with the United States.
“It’s very clear to me in my vision for how the country is going to move forward that I can’t see the Philippines in the future without having the United States as a partner,” Marcos said during an interview. an economic forum at the New York Stock Exchange. Monday, based on an official transcript sent to media. “When we are in crisis, we turn to the United States.”
Marcos’ remarks contrast sharply with those of his predecessor, Rodrigo Duterte, who visited China early in his presidency and announced a “separation” from the United States. Duterte also threatened to end a military deal with his former colonizer, but ultimately held it back by thanking the United States for Covid-19 vaccines.
The Philippines under Marcos have escalated protests against Beijing over a territorial dispute in the South China Sea. However, in a first sign of a balancing of interests shortly after winning the May election, Marcos called China the country’s “strongest partner” in the pandemic recovery and said the government was open to talks with Beijing on oil exploration in the disputed area.
The late dictator’s son faces a $354million contempt of court fine in the United States after failing to comply with rulings on the disbursement of family assets. However, US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman said in June that Marcos had diplomatic immunity as a head of state and could enter America.
During his speech at the New York Stock Exchange, Marcos courted American investors by touting the Philippines as a “vibrant economy”. The Philippines needs more “capital-intensive investment” to achieve at least 6.5% economic growth per year until 2028, he said.
“Despite the external headwinds, the resilience of the Philippine economy – bolstered by sound policies and decisive leadership – makes us confident about our future,” he said. The Philippines has retained its sovereign credit rating throughout the pandemic and is “preparing for an ‘A’ territory” in the medium term.
Marcos said his administration was creating a “new investment climate” by streamlining bureaucracy and addressing investor concerns, including high electricity costs. The Philippine leader met with officials from US companies NuScale Power, WasteFuel and Boeing Co., he said in a tweet.
A wide reopening of what was among the world’s strictest pandemic lockdowns has supported the recovery while being challenged by the rising cost of living. A surge in global commodity prices has stoked inflation in a country that imports goods from oil to wheat, made worse by the peso’s plunge to a record low this month. The central bank, which has raised its key rate by 175 basis points so far this year, is expected to raise it again on Thursday.
“In the short term, our main priorities are to protect the purchasing power of families by managing inflation, reducing the scarring effects of the pandemic and guaranteeing solid macroeconomic fundamentals,” Marcos said.
(Updates with details on US case of Marcos, more remarks from 6th paragraph)
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