As business links between the UK and the Phili ppines continue to grow from strength to strength, British Prime Minister David Cameron and President Benigno Aquino 3rd congratulated the Philippine British Business Council on its 20th anniversary.
British Ambassador Asif Ahmad presented the council’s co-chairs Ambassador Jesus Tambunting and Nigel Rich with framed copies of the two letters from the heads of state, in a simple ceremony at his Makati residence.
The event coincided with a business delegation to Manila that the council organized this month.
The two leaders thanked the organization for two decades of contributions to bilateral trade and investment between the UK and the Philippines.
“The UK and the Philippines have had a long and fruitful relationship. The UK is now the largest European investor in the Philippine and the largest recipient of Philippine foreign direct investment in Europe. Bilateral trade between our countries is growing strongly, with UK exports to the Philippine increasing by 44-percent in the first half of 2015,” Prime Minister Cameron said.
The Prime Minister acknowledged the council’s commitment to championing increased good will and stronger commercial relationships, which he said, “has been an important part of the success story between our two countries.” He also recognized the innovation road-shows the council has organized in recent years, which “have undoubtedly helped to deepen our business collaboration in the important areas of infrastructure, transport and public-private partnerships.”
Meanwhile, President Aquino hopes that these engagements further deepen the trust between the two countries. He cited the council’s role, which has “been decisive in driving key industry sectors such as agribusiness, energy, IT/BPM, tourism and retail trade.”
Trade and Investment is a cornerstone of the growing relationship between the Philippines and the United Kingdom. Over the last decade, the two governments have sought to deepen business ties. UK exports of goods and services to the Philippines have risen the past decade, from about $597 million in 2005 to $640 million in 2014. Machinery and transport equipment is still the largest UK goods export sector to the Philippines, comprising close to half of total goods exports so far in the year.
Medical and pharmaceutical products and industrial machinery continue to expand.
Apparel and clothing accessories show a big jump of almost 70-percent increase compared to the same period in 2014, reflecting the increasing number of UK retail brands. Cars and ot her road vehicles also show a strong niche, growing by 32-percent year-to-date. Food and beverages also showed commanding growth, with cereal products posting the highest growth among the top ten export goods so far in the year, with alcoholic beverages also strongly up.
The UK remains the largest European investor in the Philippines. From 2005 to 2013, UK investments to the country have almost doubled, from $6.1 billion $10.8 billion.
As the Philippine economy continues to grow, local companies have also begun looking to expand overseas and the UK is well positioned to engage these firms. Since 2013, inward investment from the Philippines to the UK has continued to ramp up. The Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), one of the biggest in the country, established their European headquarters in London and is already expanding their global activities from the UK. Local telecoms leader PLDT Global has partnered with British company Teleena to create a mobile virtual network operation to serve Filipinos in the UK.
In October 2014, the AllianceGlobal conglomerate made a £430 million investment to acquire Scotch whisky distillery Whyte & Mackay and in October 2015, Monde Nissin, a Filipino food firm, spent £550 million to acquire Quorn Foods, an innovative meat-substitute company.
The Philippine British Business Council was launched on November 13 1995 and is welcoming a business delegation from the UK to celebrate its 20th Anniversary this month.
The council’s role is to simultaneously create and add value to the trade, investment and business relationship between the Philippines and the UK. It provides an umbrella organization and overall framework for identifying profitable opportunities for cooperation between the business communities of the two countries. Specific business opportunities and programs are then followed up and implemented by private sector companies in both countries. The five current council priorities are Agribusiness, ICT/BDO, Energy/Power, Retail and Tourism/Leisure.