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UK vows to support PH economic growth & recovery – British Chamber reveals

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By Alithea De Jesus

Having been a staunch advocate to bring more investors in the Philippines from the UK and also very active in reechoing the sentiments of fellow officials from other foreign chambers on how the country can achieve economic recovery, British Chamber of Commerce Executive Director and Trustee Chris Nelson revealed in a TV interview that the United Kingdom and investors from the UK have reiterated their support for the Philippines’ economic growth & recovery.

Nelson has been painstakingly coordinating with various lawmakers and government officials to share valuable insights about the sentiments of the foreign investors who want to do business in the Philippines and how the Philippines can win them to invest in the country instead of looking at the ASEAN neighbor.

The British Chamber of Commerce Executive Director underscored the continued strong UK-PH relationship amidst the ongoing pandemic and how both countries are now dealing with the new Omicron variant.

One of the highlights of the discussion is about AstraZeneca, a valuable member of the British Chamber of Commerce Philippines. Nelson weighed in and commented that the UK’s donation of more AstraZeneca vaccines to the Philippines is a recognition of the necessity and the effectiveness of vaccines against the COVID-19 virus. Nelson commented, “We’re all safe when everybody is safe.”

As of late, there have been 22 reported cases of the new COVID variant in the UK. In response, the UK government has brought back necessary measures such as face coverings and mandatory PCR tests for flight travelers and has been expanding their booster jab rollouts to prevent the potential spread of the virus in their borders.
On the other hand, no cases of the Omicron variant have been reported in the Philippines yet but health and government officials are now reconsidering and recalibrating their protocols for the holiday season.

Additionally, Nelson said that the Philippines and the UK remain to have “strong” diplomatic relations. He added, “This is the 75th year of diplomatic [relations] between the UK and the Philippines. We have a new ambassador in place, and the relationship is very strong.” Nelson also mentioned that despite the height of the pandemic during 2020 and the first half of 2021, UK investors were still interested in doing business in the country in particular sectors such as retail, food and beverage, advanced machinery, and business outsourcing.

Along with hoping for the continuous recovery of the country from the challenges brought by the pandemic, the Chamber is resolute that economic recovery of the Philippines will be further aided by economic legislation that would liberalize its economy.

Furthermore, Nelson reiterated the sentiment of the Chamber about the urgency and importance of the passage of the certified economic bills such as the Retail Trade Liberalisation Act, Public Service Act, and Foreign Investment Act. The forum, entitled Breaking Economic Barriers: The Philippines’ Road to Further Liberalising Its Economy, is slated on the 10th of December 2021 and will feature the new British ambassador to the Philippines, Laure Beaufils, together with distinguished guest speakers such as Atty. Anthony Abad, CEO of TradeAdvisors; Emmanuel Bonoan, Vice Chairman and COO of KPMG Philippines; and Congresswoman Sharon Garin.

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