Investors and exporters in the Czech Republic are looking at business opportunities in the Philippines, given robust economic growth that seems to be shielded from global headwinds.
Martin Tlapa, deputy minister of Foreign Affairs for Economic Relations of the Czech Republic, said a lot of companies from the Czech Republic are keen on being a part of the domestic scene.
“There are a lot of business opportunities. We’re trying to enter. We found some sectors we found promising. Aviation sector is one, because of a lot of connectivity projects in the Philippines. More on the medium-sized and small aircraft,” Tlapa said, citing the Czech Republic’s expertise in aircraft manufacturing.
“I think we would be very interested in working with the Philippines,” he added.
The other sectors are food, infrastructure and construction, financing, glass and other technologies.
Some Czech companies are looking into infrastructure projects in the Philippines, including finance facilities for big-ticket projects.
Tlapa said the value of trade with the Philippines has reached $400 million as of end-September 2015.
Czech exports to Philippines are mostly raw materials for semiconductor manufacturing, toys—particularly Lego blocks—and parts of luxury suitcases.
He said Philippines, on the other hand, exports more semiconductor and electronics products to the Czech Republic.
He noted the trade between the two countries isn’t much. “We would like to do something [about it],” Tlapa said.
“The Philippines is exporting more to the Czech Republic than we are exporting to the Philippines. We exchange mostly electronics products, and electronic products are widely known in the Philippines,” he added.
To enhance trade and corporate relations between the Philippines and the Czech Republic, Tlapa is encouraging small- and medium-sized enterprises to invest in the Philippines.
“I would like to encourage direct contacts. Many companies are going indirectly into third markets or more multinationals,” the deputy minister said.
“And I think it’s the time to do more in direct business-to-business relations… So let’s do things directly. We need to invest in those opportunities,” he added.
At present, the Ayala-led semiconductor manufacturer Integrated Micro-Electronics Inc. is the only Philippine company that has established a footprint in the Czech Republic and has been tapping financing options there.