SIMON Fraser, the Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and Head of the United Kingdom’s (UK) Diplomatic Service will discuss bilateral and global issues with Philippine officials during his two-day visit to Manila.
Fraser, who will be here on November 5 and 6, will meet Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, Secretary Jose Rene Almendras and other senior officials. He will also hold discussions with business leaders as part of ongoing efforts to maintain the growth of trade and investment between the two countries.
While in Manila, the British official will visit the Global Transaction Processing Center and Regional Corporate Services hub. Manila was chosen as the hub for the largest center for the FCO’s shared services because of the Philippines’ excellence and competitiveness in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector.
The British Embassy in Manila employs up to 200 staff at peak times, including over 160 Filipinos.
The ‘hub’ at the British Embassy was set up in 2012 to handle finance and Human Resources (HR) transactions from across the Asia Pacific Region. It handles payments to suppliers and staff for 78 posts in 50 countries. In addition, it provides finance, procurement and human resources support to these posts. The ‘hub’ won a British Foreign Office award for Excellence in 2013.
Simon also visited the Philippines in 2011. The UK has stepped up its engagement with the Philippines as one of its key partners. It aims to double bilateral trade by 2015 and mount its second GREAT campaign to boost business and cultural collaborations with the Philippines.
British Ambassador to Manila Asif Anwar Ahmad earlier said the UK embassy in Manila plans to bring the bilateral trade level to 5 billion pounds (P373 billion) in three years from the current 1-billion pound level.