AMERICA’S top business leaders selected by US President Joe Biden himself are coming to the Philippines early next year, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said.
Manalo announced this as he pressed for the countries—especially the US and the Philippines—to work together on new areas which he believes are the new “complexions in the strategic environment—artificial intelligence, autonomous weapons, cyber and space.”
The foreign secretary is in New York City to attend the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly, representing President Marcos Jr.
US Presidential mission
Biden had committed last year to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to dispatch the “highest caliber of US business leaders” on the “first mission of its kind” to the Philippines.
US companies are encouraged to invest in the innovation economy, clean energy transition, critical minerals sector and food security.
Manalo hopes that the US Presidential Trade and Mission’s visit would “foster public and private partnerships as well as generate big ticket projects and priority areas.”
“Our economic cooperation with the United States should keep apace with our defense-related activities. And in this regard, we aim to increase two-way trade and investments, especially in critical infrastructure, as strategic and sensitive sectors,” Manalo said in his remarks before the global nonprofit group Asia Society in New York.
The visit of the US Presidential Trade and Investment Mission in Manila coincides with the Philippines’ hosting of the Indo-Pacific Business Forum.
He reiterated that the reinvigorated Philippine-US partnership provides the opportunity for the Philippines to “enhance” the economic and economic resilience alongside the building of defense security alliance with the Americans.
Philippine and US military forces have been conducting joint activities such as holding war games, as well as training on humanitarian assistance and disaster response. Manila has also allowed additional access to the American military under the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (Edca).
“Our leaders—President Bi-den, President Marcos—considered various steps to ensure that our alliance and partnership remains relevant and responsive to the current and emerging realities in our region, and this includes cooperation not only in defense, but in economic areas,” he said.
He assured foreign policy analysts that the “anxieties” on geopolitical tensions in the Indo-Pacific region “should not detract or prevent the region from the pursuit of economic prosperity and development.”
Threat of AI, autonomous weapons
Manalo said the Philippines and the US should not only work on areas of maritime domain awareness which involves training maritime law enforcers into the laws of the seas. Philippine and US cooperation should expand to non-traditional areas on artificial intelligence, autonomous weapons, cyber and space.
“We need new rules to ensure that these new emerging technologies are not weaponized or misused in any way to subvert the rule of law or to challenge the rule of law and to not be used to exploit the vulnerable or violate the human rights and human dignity of peoples,” Manalo said.
Image credits: Secretary Enrique Manalo