SUBIC-MARYLAND TRADE COOPERATION PACT INKED
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, MANILA, OCTOBER 29, 2007 ( SBMANews Release) The Subic Bay Freeport has gained another beachhead in international trade following the signing on Monday of an agreement to enhance bonds of cooperation between Subic and Prince George’s County, Maryland’s foreign trade zone.
Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Administrator Armand Arreza said representatives of the Philippine Embassy and the Prince George’s County signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signifying the intention of both parties to expand commerce and investments between Subic and Maryland’s Foreign Trade Zone No. 63.
“This opens up a huge window of opportunity for Subic, and we’d like to explore all the possibilities that this new partnership offers,” Arreza said.
He added that the agreement is “a significant inroad” for the Subic Bay Freeport as the SBMA widens its cooperation links in global trade and seeks more foreign direct investment.
The MOU on Subic-Prince George’s County trade cooperation was signed on October 22 by Philippine Ambassador Willy C. Gaa and Prince George’s County Executive Jack B. Johnson, with the concurrence of David M. Valderrama, president of the International Council of Asian-American Business Executives.
Arreza said the MOU aims to facilitate the sharing of experiences and best practices between the two trade zones, improve the quality of operations and logistical efficiency of companies located in both zones, and link the Port of Subic with Maryland’s Port of Baltimore.
The exchange of trade information and best practices, Arreza added, would be “invaluable” to Subic because the state of Maryland hosts four trade zones, as well as the Baltimore port, a major center of maritime commerce in the United States.
“Subic has been a military port for over a century and it’s only now that its potentials for trade are being realized. As a commercial port, Subic could learn a lot from Baltimore, which has over 300 years of experience in cargo-handling,” Arreza said.
The SBMA is now developing Subic into a competitive logistics and service center for Southeast Asia, having increased the port’s cargo-handling capacity this year to 600,000 TEUs and attracting significant investments in terminal operation, drydocking and ship repair, shipbuilding, and warehousing.
The Port of Baltimore, meanwhile, is already the top-ranking port on the US East Coast in terms of roll-on/roll-off (RORO) cargo operations. It has six public terminals and 30 private terminals covering a 45-mile shoreline. - more - Baltimore also boasts of being the only port with a quality cargo handling action team (QCHAT), which ensures quality handling for RORO cargo, forest products and containers, among others.
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