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Outline for Luzon Economic Corridor takes shape

Inaugural Luzon Economic Corridor Steering Committee meeting held on May 21

Presidential Communications Office - GOVPH
The Philippines' President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. addresses the Indo-Pacific Business Forum

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While most headlines from the Indo-Pacific Business Forum held on May 21 in Taguig, just outside Manila, focused on the latest official data concerning the Philippines’ strong economic growth (5.5 percent for 2023), important regional work was conducted on the Forum’s sidelines.

One of the top parallel meetings was the inaugural session of the PGI Luzon Corridor Steering Committee, a major project that was highlighted at the Trilateral Leaders’ April 11 Washington DC meeting (Japan, The Philippines and the United States).

PGI and/or PGII refer to the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment, which is the Biden administration’s response to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, and was designed with major U.S. allies to encompass the entire G-7 coordination mechanism. Launched in 2022, the PGI is actually the second iteration of the short-lived American Build Back Better World (B3W) Partnership, announced in mid-2021 with the G-7 to provide COVID-era leadership in addressing global infrastructure needs.

While the initiative’s name and focus are now clearly labeled as PGI, it remains a relatively unknown term outside of diplomatic circles, global construction and energy companies and G-7 watchers.

The April 11 Washington trilateral summit was used to announce the PGI Luzon Economic Corridor, which is set to become the first PGI corridor in the Indo-Pacific. Luzon is the largest and most populous island in the Philippines archipelago and location of the country’s capital city Manila.

The Luzon Economic Corridor project will support connectivity between two former U.S. base locations with large airfields — Subic Bay and Clark, the capital Manila, and Batangas. Projects are planned to upgrade ports, rail links, clean energy facilities and semiconductor supply chains. After the Washington summit, the three countries set up a steering committee to accelerate work on the Luzon Corridor and the U.S. Development Finance Corporation (DFC) has been approved to open its first regional office in the Philippines.

Progress report

After the May 21st steering committee meeting, the U.S. Department of State issued the following media release explaining the meeting’s objectives:

United States, Philippines, and Japan Launch the Luzon Economic Corridor Steering Committee to Drive Infrastructure Investment

On the sidelines of the Indo-Pacific Business Forum in Manila, U.S. Senior Advisor to the President for Energy and Investment Amos Hochstein, along with Acting Special Coordinator for the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGI) Helaina Matza, joined fellow co-chairs Philippine Senior Advisor to the President for Investment and Economic Affairs Frederick Go and Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs Director-General for International Cooperation Bureau Ishizuki Hideo for the inaugural Luzon Corridor Steering Committee meeting, to drive infrastructure investment and development along the Corridor.

The Steering Committee aims to implement the Trilateral Leaders’ commitment in April to develop the Luzon Economic Corridor under the PGI Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) Investment Accelerator. The partners discussed priority sectors for engagement and reviewed potential projects and areas of interest, committing to future meetings on a quarterly basis.

The Luzon Economic Corridor is the first PGI economic corridor in the Indo-Pacific region. The Corridor will support connectivity among Subic Bay, Clark, Manila, and Batangas as well as facilitate strategic, anchor investments within each hub in high-impact infrastructure projects, including rail, port modernization, agribusiness, and clean energy and semiconductor supply chains and deployments.”

For a full review of the Indo-Pacific Business Forum’s outcomes, please visit: https://www.state.gov/2024-indo-pacific-business-forum-forges-new-collaborations-spurs-innovation-and-drives-investment/

 

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