France has expressed interest in increasing trade and investments in the Philippines even amid fighting in Marawi City.
“I don’t see so far any impacts of the current (Marawi) situation in the business,” French Ambassador Thierry Mathou told reporters.
Mathou said more French companies were keen to invest and develop trade and economic relations with the Philippines, particularly in infrastructure, energy, pharmaceuticals and other strategic sectors.
He bared his country had been working with the Philippine Department of Agriculture (DA) to finalize an agreement on agriculture “so it will give the opportunity for the two countries to cooperate in this important sector.”
There are over 80 French companies operating in the Philippines.
Mathou said France and the Philippines had already celebrated the 70th anniversary of their bilateral relations “but we think that there is still room to develop our relations especially in the economic and trade sector.”
”More and more French companies are taking a renewed interest in the Philippines as a potential market in the region,” he said.
Mathou cited the Philippine large population and economic growth of between 6 and 7 percent providing huge business opportunities.
In 2015, trade between France and the Philippines amounted to 1.44 billion euros.
Philippine exports to France experienced a 28-percent increase to USD 602 million, attributable to the increase of exports of electronic components and agricultural products.
Meanwhile, the ambassador said France was willing to support the Philippines in its fight against terrorism through intelligence sharing.
”This issue of terrorism is a concern for all of us. As we know, we had attack in Europe, in France, now it’s in the Philippines so it’s really in the interest for all of us to fight together,” he said.