London, United Kingdom – Philippines and British senior officials from the government and the private sector participated at the ‘Going Global: The Future of UK and Philippine Business’ held in Asia House, London on 7 September. They led discussions about business prospects and opportunities to form an even stronger UK-Philippines bilateral commercial, trade and investment relations.
In his speech, Philippine Ambassador to the United Kingdom, H.E. Evan P. Garcia said: “the country remains ‘Asia’s bright spot’ as evidenced by a streak of 70 quarters of unprecedented gains, 7% growth in GDP for the second quarter of 2016 and a stable inflation rate.”
He reaffirmed that the economic outperformance of the Philippines will continue with the complementation of the government’s 10-point socio-economic agenda making the country a safe place to live, work and do business, while improving the welfare of Filipinos. Ambassador Garcia also said that the influx of British businesses into the country and unwavering diplomatic relations between the Philippines and the United Kingdom would lead towards deepened economic interconnectedness.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister for Asia and the Pacific Alok Sharma MP, key note speaker, stated that leaving the EU offers UK an opportunity to broaden their trade and investment relationship with their close friends and important partners around the world, including the Philippines. He reiterated: “The Philippines is now, and will remain, an important partner for the UK in the region. The opportunities for British investors are significant.”
Minister Sharma also expressed enthusiasm over the trade and investment relationship between the two countries and listed Emperador and Monde Nissin as Philippine companies, which recently acquired UK businesses – Whyte & Mackay and Quorn Foods, respectively. “Of course everyone wins when trade goes both ways, and I’m pleased that we are also seeing a steady flow of investment from the Philippines into the UK,” he added.
Furthermore, a panel of senior officials from UK companies such as Arup, Atkins Aquity and HSBC also shared their success stories about investing and doing business in the Philippines. Similarly, British officials from Whyte & Mackay, Quorn Foods and Rothschild described smooth acquisitions and turn over of operations involving new Philippine investments in the said UK companies.
United Kingdom Ambassador to the Philippines H.E. Asif Ahmad voiced emphasis on investments and franchising between UK and the Philippines and his anticipation for more that are yet to come. Meanwhile, United Kingdom Trade Envoy to the Philippines Richard Graham also addressed the crowd, following the success of his recent Trade Mission to the Philippines. He described the country as a business-friendly destination that represents a number of interests and opportunities for the UK.
“I think what we’ve heard today is the beginning of a long series of much greater UK-Philippines relations – which is in fact UK investments to the Philippines, but is also increasingly Philippine investments in the UK.”
The United Kingdom remains to be the top European investor in the Philippines. UK was Philippines’ third largest investor in 2015. As or First Quarter of 2016, the UK ranked 6th as Philippines’ top source of total approved foreign investments by country of investor. In terms of trade, there is a continuous growth of trade between the Philippines and the UK of a 7 percent yearly average.
In recent years, business and government missions and exchange visits have increased between the two countries since 2012. This has contributed greatly to the growth of the trade and commercial investments between UK and the Philippines. It proves to be an exciting time for both countries as they embark on a new chapter.
The Going Global event is a roundtable briefing to promote bilateral trade and investments between the UK and the Philippines and discuss the future of the UK-Philippine commercial relations. The event is a collaboration between the British Embassy Manila, who hosted the event, and the UK Department for International Trade, with the participation of the Philippine Embassy in London.