The United Kingdom and the Philippines will both benefit from stronger economic ties which create opportunities for economic growth, British Ambassador Asif Ahmad said.
Speaking at the Pandesal Forum on November 23, the Ambassador emphasized the importance of interdependency in creating mutual prosperity among nations, like in the case of the UK and the Philippines.
“We are working together with the Philippine government in further pushing the boundaries of free trade,” said Ambassador Ahmad. “Being the Philippines’ number one investor from the European Union, we not only bring British goods and services to the market but we also help generate employment and tax revenue.”
UK-Philippine trade relations remain upbeat as total British exports of goods and services to the Philippines last year reached P38.76 billion (£628 million), a 28 percent increase from 2014. In particular, UK exports were up by 38 percent in 2015, making the Philippines among the UK’s fastest growing exports markets.
For the first half of this year, goods exports to the Philippines have been valued at P16.16 billion (£262 million), led by machines and transport, food and beverage, and retail.
“The UK’s decision to step out of the EU allows us to further deepen our ties with the rest of the world, especially Asia. It gives us the opportunity to be more outward-facing and more energetic on the global stage, said the British envoy.
Globalization and the fear of losing livelihood
There are signs of a change in the attitude to globalization, linking the shift to the fear of losing livelihoods and employment in a world where physical borders now appear inadequate to provide protection.
“The attitude towards interdependency seems to have changed in the last decade, following the global financial crisis in 2007. People feel the direct impact of globalization in their lives as their livelihood and employment can be affected by the decision of an individual from another country.”
However, Ambassador Ahmad noted that shifting to an isolationist and protectionist stance is a “poor and dangerous” response to globalization, adding that interdependency has improved food security, consumer choice, and health care.
“Instead of looking at globalization as a threat, governments should balance its impact and make it work for their people. Prosperity created through the help of interdependence should be inclusive. Governments can invest in infrastructure and social welfare to empower the marginalized. Women can be given more opportunities to participate in economic activities.”