Eyeing defense, energy, tourism
A 14-man Slovenian delegation from eight companies met with government officials and business groups on Thursday, seeking investment opportunities in the Philippines mainly in the defense, energy, and tourism sectors.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Chamber of Commerce of the Philippine Islands (CCPI) hosted a business-to-business (B2B) meeting for the Slovenian delegation on Thursday.
This is the first business mission of Slovenia to the Philippines, with the fast growth and robust economy of the Philippines making it “an excellent gate to the Asean (Associaton of Southeast Asian Nations),” according to Ales Cantarutti, state secretary of Slovenia’s Ministry of Economic Development and Technology.
Cantarutti said that some Slovenian small and medium enterprises (SME) in the delegation are interested in arms supply, technology transfer and possibly building up manufacturing facilities in the country aimed at supporting the defense and military forces amid the Modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines program.
“We are interested in the modernization of the military. The next step is to prepare the ministries’ memorandum of understanding or agreement on cooperation between businesses. More on research and innovations, trends for technology, transfer of knowledge,” Cantarutti told reporters after the meeting.
“Only trade is not enough. If we go for long term (investment), then we’ll explore. We’re looking at the broader picture, not only selling,” he added, citing the possibility to build up manufacturing hubs in the Philippines.
The local defense sector has already attracted three Slovenian SMEs in the delegation, which are Bijol D.O.O., MIL Sistemika D.O.O., and Em.Tronic D.O.O.
Other than defense, Cantarutti said other sectors that they are looking to invest in are the energy and tourism sectors given Slovenia’s expertise in small hydropower stations and their love for traveling in the Philippines.
CCPI President Jose Luis Yulo Jr. said the Slovenian firms expressed interest in the defense and waste management sectors of the country.
“The idea is to transfer technologies. Not just to sell, but to build manufacturing (facilities) here. We’re trying to go beyond trade. Because we want job creation,” Yulo said also after the meeting.
“We already had chamber to chamber signing of some cooperation agreements, but what we’re trying to do is to sign a memorandum of agreement or understanding between businesses,” he added.
Other sectors that Slovenian firms are looking at include wood processing, electrical and metal industry, domestic appliances, automotive, and import and export distribution.
Slovenia is the 82nd trading partner of the Philippines. Some of the country’s top export products to Slovenia include tuna, integrated circuits, and bicycle and bicycle products, while imports from Slovenia include funfair and parlor games products and data processing products.
Large merchandise exports between the two countries include electronics, motor vehicle parts, food products, design driven products in furniture and fashion, and garments.