By Alithea De Jesus
True to its commitment to deepen and broaden the economic cooperation between the Philippines and the Czech Republic, the Czech Embassy in Manila launched a business conference that would foster collaboration between Filipino and Czech businessmen.
In partnership with the Czech Chamber of Commerce and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Manila successfully hosted the 2023 Business Conference and B2B Event last February 15, 2023 at Dusit Thani Manila.
One of the highlights of the business conference is the visit of the Czech delegation to the Philippines led by Mr. Jan Skopeček, Deputy Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies and accompanied by Mr. Michal Štefl, Vice President of the Czech Chamber of Commerce.
Over 80 business leaders from different organizations across the country, the first installation of the 2023 Business Conference and B2B Event was officially opened by no less than Deputy Speaker Jan Skopeček. Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry President, Mr. George Barcelon, was also present and gave a few words highlighting the inclination to link the Czech Chamber of Commerce to both private and public sectors in the Philippines. In his message, Mr. Barcelon stressed that “Creating opportunities like this can boost our two-way trade and investments”.
Meanwhile, Czech Chamber of Commerce Vice President Mr. Michal Štefl shared that the group is keen on expanding their business engagements beyond European markets, especially in the Philippines which is considered by Czech companies as a great potential haven of investments. These companies, who are also part of the business mission from the Czech Republic, include AŽD Praha, CREA Hydro&Energy, Crocodille ČR, Elektro SMS, Export Guarantee and Insurance Corporation, GRAPECARE LTD, PERSPEKTIVA Znojmo, Prague Investment Corporation, SaZ, IPOLT CZ, WASTen, DODEX, Enress, ESSENCE LINE, and CzechTrade. Further, the Chamber identifies the technology, transportation, and energy sectors as their key priority areas in forging business partnerships in the Philippines.
Czech companies were also briefed on the current business climate in the Philippines and the opportunities that come with it. Director Lanie Dormiendo from the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI) – International Investments Promotions Service Department proudly announced that the Philippines is the 2nd fastest-growing economy in the ASEAN region with an estimated 6.3% GDP growth for 2023. The BOI also identifies four priority industry clusters for 2022-2028, namely the Industrial, Manufacturing and Transport (IMT); Technology, Media and Telecommunications (TMT); and Health and Life Sciences (HLS). In an effort to improve the ease of doing business in the country, the Philippine government passed laws such as the CREATE Act and other pieces of legislation geared towards beefing up foreign direct investments (FDIs) in strategic industries in the Philippines.
Director Ondřej Puchinger of the CzechTrade Philippines, on the other hand, warmly introduced the CzechTrade Philippines as a governmental trade promotion organization founded by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. Director Puchinger announced that they expect to bring in about 30 to 50 new business partners in 2023 with collaboration from local associations and business clubs. The organization is focused on developing international trade and cooperation between Czech Exporters and Philippine partners.
After the presentations, the attendees took the time to introduce and network between business to business in search of possible business partnerships. The conference also served as a platform for representatives from the government, chambers, and business leaders from energy and waste management, railway, infrastructure, manufacturing, manpower, architecture, defense, and media industries to discuss new trends and opportunities for both countries that may arise as the year unfolds.
The second part of the Business Conference and B2B event will be held on February 16, 2023, at Dusit Thani Davao, in cooperation with the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the City Government of Davao.