President Duterte foreign policy shift away from the United States and into the spheres of influence of China and Russia has again been proven to be the right decision as Russia has committed to buying US$ 2.5 billion (Php 122 billion) worth of “Philippine fruits, grains or vegetables.”

According to reports, the Russia delegation made the pledge during Saturday’s bilateral discussions between President Duterte and President Vladimir Putin.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the Russians estimated the value of importation, which they have agreed to implement “immediately,” dwarfs the current $46 million worth of exports the Philippines ships to Russia every year.

Among the key agricultural products that the Philippines will be pushing for export are mangoes and bananas. Adds Lopez, “these kinds of discussions present more trading opportunities between (Russia and the Philippines).”

Lopez also revealed that Putin offered to help the Philippines through investments in energy and infrastructure. In particular, he identified the following areas that the Russians are interested to provide assistance, “machine engineering, hardware, modernizing industrial machineries, railways, especially long-range railways, port infrastructure, monorails, light transit transport system, agriculture and, of course, tourism.”

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