Phl seeks stronger trade and investment ties with UK

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Recognizing the significance of the United Kingdom in pursuit of the country’s socioeconomic agenda, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual attended two (2) roundtable meetings on Thursday, 22 June 2023 in London, which forms part of his 3-week Europe Investment Roadshow.

During the roundtable meeting with the UK-ASEAN Business Council, an organization focused on facilitating trade and investment between the United Kingdom (UK) and the ASEAN region, Secretary Pascual affirmed the country’s steady march toward recovery saying that, “The Philippines is on a remarkable journey toward recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and expansion of the economy. Our country’s GDP growth rate soared to 7.6 percent in 2022, up from 5.7 percent in 2021.”

Taken during the Roundtable Meeting with the UK-ASEAN Business Council From left (seated) Dominic James, Department for Business and Trade; Dominic Morley, BAE Systems; Ian Gibbons, CEO of UK-ASEAN Business Council; DTI Secretary Fred Pascual; Helen Brand, Association of Chartered Certified Accountants; Commercial Counselor Michelle Sanchez, Philippine Trade and Investment Center in London; Assistant Secretary Mylene Capongcol, Department of Energy

“The Philippines has maintained investor-grade ratings. Just last month, Fitch Ratings affirmed our country’s investor-grade triple-B rating and improved the outlook from negative to stable. These give us confidence that we are on track to achieving our 2023 growth target of 6.0 percent to 7.0 percent, and a faster 6.5 percent to 8.0 percent from 2024 to 2028,” he added.

Based on the latest data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the United Kingdom ranked 7th as the country’s source of Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs). With this, Secretary Pascual recognizes the importance of maintaining strong economic relations between the Philippines and the UK.

Further, Secretary Pascual recognized the importance of establishing infrastructures that will facilitate economic activities and will enable British companies to efficiently operate in the Philippines. He emphasized that the government is pursuing an infrastructure flagship program called, “Build, Better, More”, which currently includes 194 flagship projects amounting to Php9 trillion.

Likewise, he shared that the country is implementing several sectoral roadmaps to develop the local supply chain and instituting industrial policies that will support the growth of the country’s human resources, enabling them to adopt to the industry 4.0 technology.

[Photo taken during the Roundtable Meeting with the Asia House Corporate Network | From L-R (front row): Executive Director Evariste Cagatan, Board of Investments (BOI) – Investments Promotion Services; Assistant Secretary Mylene Capongcol, Department of Energy; Assistant Secretary Allan B. Gepty, Department of Trade and Industry – Industry Development and Trade Policy Group; Chief Executive Michael Lawrence, Asia House Corporate Network; DTI Secretary Fred Pascual; H.E. Teodoro Locsin, Jr., Philippine Ambassador to the United Kingdom; DTI Undersecretary for Communications Maria Blanca Kim Bernardo-Lokin; Commercial Counselor Michelle Sanchez, Philippine Trade and Investment Center in London]

On the same day, Secretary Pascual also led the Philippine delegation in a roundtable meeting with Asia House Corporate Network, a non-profit, non-political, pan-Asian organization which aims to build dynamic links between Europe and Asia.

In his opening statement, he underscored that, “Central to our government’s efforts in fortifying our economy is the focus on attracting investors, ensuring that the Philippines becomes a thriving business hub. Our country’s young and skilled workforce and our strategic geographic location make the Philippines an attractive investment destination.”

He likewise stressed that the DTI is focused on developing the country’s digital economy, including FinTech. The Department is implementing the e-Commerce Philippines 2022 Roadmap that will solidify the country’s position as a technological leader in the region.

Currently, two local FinTech startups are valued at more than USD1 billion, with Mynt achieving “double unicorn” status after raising USD300 million and Voyager Innovations raising a total of USD210 million in its latest funding round. With this, Secretary Pascual highlighted that the future of FinTech in the Philippines is very promising, as the country was identified as one of the fast-growing FinTech destinations.

Asia House’s Chief Executive Michael Lawrence chaired the meeting, which was also attended by Director of Corporate Affairs Mr. Charlie Humphreys, Philippine Ambassador to the United Kingdom Teodoro Locsin, Jr., and representatives from ten (10) British companies involved in manufacturing, finance, food and beverage production, asset management, and renewable and clean energy, among others.

Secretary Pascual views these two (2) meetings as a platform to effectively communicate to British companies that the Philippines is implementing several policy reforms and programs that will enable them to expand and thrive in the country, bringing in more high-quality and better-paying jobs for the Filipino people.

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