• UK interested in PH retail, energy, infrastructure

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    The United Kingdom Trade and Industry (UKTI) is interested in the country’s retail, energy and energy efficiency sectors, and infrastructure.

    Iain Mansfield, the new Manila director of the UKTI, told reporters on his first press briefing on Thursday that his country is eyeing businesses and investments in the Philippines in relation to retail, energy and energy efficiency, as well as bidding for public-private partnership (PPP) construction and infrastructure projects.

    He said that the PPP projects that are of interest to UKTI’s are the Cebu-Mactan International Airport through an architectural firm, Bulacan Bulk Water for the building background pipelines, and upcoming projects concerning the Light Rail Transit and Metro Rail Transit.

    Mansfield said that British companies specializing and optimizing in energy power sources would also want to “cut power requirements by 10 percent” in the country.

    Also, some famous British brands in retail, fashion, automotive and culture will attend a prosperity event, which would focus on the retail industry of the country.

    Mansfield said that they are looking into the importance of retail and agriculture in the Philippines, as the “sustainability of retail supply chain” should be maintained.

    Because of these concerns, he said that the UKTI has four major events to work on in the country towards the end of the year. These include energy in September; education in February next year; and the retail prosperity event which is being planned as a three-month event in the second half of the year.

    These would focus on some of the UKTI’s listed key sector opportunities in the Philippines including agriculture, education, environment, financial and professional services, information and communications technology, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, power and renewable energy, retail and fashion.

    Mansfield also mentioned that British universities will provide information on technology-based and business process outsourcing (BPO) training. For the BPO sector, the UK considers Manila as its top partner, with British outsource firms establishing their regional offices in the country.

    “We chose the Philippines as our hub [within the last two or three years]because we saw the quality of staff that we can get, the ease of doing business here, and the central location in terms of financing,” Mansfield said.

    According to UKTI, the United Kingdom is the highest European and fourth highest overall source of foreign direct investments to the Philippines. On the other hand, UK exports of goods to the Philippines increased by 8 percent in the first five months of the year, while it increased by 17 percent for the full year of 2012, amounting to 332 billion euros, consisting mostly of industrial machinery.

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