The Parliamentary State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and former German Minister of Justice Brigitte Zypries is currently on a visit to the Philippines, accompanied by a high-ranking business delegation, to hold talks with the Philippine Government on German-Philippine economic relations.
Zypries began her official itinerary on Tuesday, and will remain in the country until Friday. Her key activities comprise of bilateral talks with the Secretary of Foreign Affairs Albert Del Rosario, where it is expected that a discussion commercial and economic issues of mutual interest will ensue.
“Germany is the Philippines’ most important trade partner in Europe with a bilateral trade volume of 5-billion Euro, and there are strong indicators that the figures for 2015 will be even higher. With more than 240 members already, the German Philippine Chamber of Commerce had a brilliant start as it provides excellent services to German and Philippine companies,” noted German Ambassador Thomas Ossowski.
Today, Zypries will hand over an original piece of the Berlin Wall to Secretary Del Rosario at the National Museum.
“This part of the Wall is a gift by the Senate of the City of Berlin to the Philippine Government and the Philippine people in remembrance of the peaceful EDSA Revolution which happened just a few years before a peaceful revolution by the people of East-Berlin tore down the Berlin Wall that divided Germany. I also thank the German shipping company Kuehne & Nagel who have brought this 2 ton piece safely from Berlin to Manila free of charge,” acknowledged Ambassador Ossowski.
Zypries and her party will also witness the official inauguration of the German Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI) as a full-fledged member of the German chamber network (AHK). This had been announced in 2014 during the visit of President Benigno Aquino 3rd to Germany. In the short time span, GPCCI has shown a remarkable growth rate into a chamber with a membership of more than 240 German and Filipino companies.
Bilateral trade between Germany and the Philippines met record highs with 4.8-billion Euro (about P250,000 billion) in 2014. A further strong increase of bilateral trade is expected for 2015 as in the first quarter bilateral trade grew by 32-percent in comparison to the first half of 2014. In addition, many German companies have invested in the Philippines.
Lufthansa Technik in Manila, with about 3000 employees, services the world´s most modern and biggest planes. Continental, with about 2,000 employees, produces electronic parts for a global market of the automobile industry. The German company Steag, through its 210 MW power plant, helps to meet the energy requirements needed in Mindanao.
Porsche and other companies invest in dual vocational training carried out by Don Bosco technical schools.
There are also many small- to medium-sized German companies such as CS Garment—a company with about 400 employees which produces high quality shirts—operating in the Philippines. More and more German companies have also invested in IT-based businesses here such as Zalora, or are active in e-commerce and as well Business Process Outsourcing.
Zypries finally plans to visit to the Asian Development Bank since the Philippines is one of the major recipients of ADB funding. Currently Germany holds 4.3 percent of ADB´s total shares.