THE Australia-Philippines Business Council (APBC) welcomed the Philippine delegation to Australia led by Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez and Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Allan Peter Cayetano through a welcome reception participated in by Australian and Philippine business leaders on 16 March 2018 in Barangaroo, Sydney, Australia.
Secretary Cayetano and Secretary Lopez witnessed the signing of Letters of Intent (LOIs) to invest in the Philippines from different private sector leaders/firms planning to maximize the Philippines’ growing economy. Investment includes setting up of an assembly plant for GPS tracking devices, development of a US$10 million biomass power plant, and construction of a US$30 million hotel and residential place in Cebu.
Australia’s Macquarie Bank Chairman Peter Warne, Chairman of TMIP Holdings David King, ANZ Philippines CEO Anna Green, AUSTAL CEO David Singleton were among the Australian business executives present. Philippine business leaders like Mr. Jose Concepcion III and SM Investment’s Ms. Teresita Sy-Coson were among the Filipino executives in attendance.
In his address to the business community, Secretary Lopez highlighted government’s support programs for micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and its initiatives that ensure the growth, development, and competitiveness of these enterprises. He shared DTI’s Negosyo Centers, Pondo Para sa Pagbabago (P3), Shared Service Facility (SSF), market access initiatives that provide permanent space for MSME products, and online digital space programs, which are summed up in the DTI’s 7M strategy on MSMEs.
Secretary Lopez shared that increasing the trade base between Australia and the Philippines should be based on complementarity of industries and sectors where growth will be highly recorded. Some examples he gave were on agri-based commodities, ship-building, construction (Build, Build, Build), and IT and Business Process Management Services (IT-BPM).
In his closing remarks, Secretary Lopez shared the Philippines’ economic breakout, supported by growth in GDP, manufacturing, consumer confidence, among others. He also emphasized the enhancement of domestic policies, with new regulations adopted to ensure competitiveness of businesses and industries.
Secretary Lopez also cited the recently issued tax law (TRAIN), where individuals are expected to have bigger take-home pay. With its implementation, it is expected to build a wider consumer base with higher buying capacity leading to greater opportunities for businesses. Secretary Lopez reiterated that the Philippines is open for business, with DTI’s core task of bringing more job-generating opportunities for all Filipinos.
During the event, APBC President Ed Alcordo expressed APBC’s gratitude for the Philippine government’s commitment in strengthening bilateral ties between Australia and the Philippines where foreign and economic relations have grown through 70 years of friendship, with a comprehensive partnership agreement signed in 2015.
At the end of the welcome reception, a meeting attended by Secretary Lopez, DFA Secretary Cayetano and AUSTAL CEO David Singleton was held. Mr. Singleton shared AUSTAL’s shipyard operations in Cebu and its plan to expand its operations in the Philippines. AUSTAL makes fast, lightweight aluminum boats for civilian and military use. They are the sole foreign company supplying Aluminum-hulled ships to the United States Navy. Mr. Singleton shared that they make ships in the Philippines for export to customers in Germany, Australia and many other overseas clients who require high quality shipbuilding.
The business reception was organized by the Australia Philippines Business Council (APBC) and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Sydney.