President Aquino expects at least $2.38 billion in fresh foreign direct investments (FDI) coming to the Philippines as fruits of his personal meetings with business and government leaders during his four-nation European Union (EU) swing covering Spain, France, Germany and Belgium.
“We had a total, so far, of 19 companies that we talked to, and between the government side and the business entities,”President Aquino told reporters over coffee, summing up his trade and diplomatic mission in Europe. “They all praised the economic performance of our country.”
Mr. Aquino added that “from our engagements in Europe alone, we are expecting around $2.3 billion in investments in the sectors of manufacturing, energy, the IT-BPM [information technology-business process management] sector, infrastructure, transport.”
He hinted that members of his trade delegation are still giving “extra [lobbying] effort” in convincing a
potential foreign investor, whom he did not identify yet, to set up a “really major” manufacturing plant in the Philippines.
Mr. Aquino, however, did not provide additional details, beyond saying that of the $2.378-billion total potential FDI ensuing from his trip, $908 million have been committed, while $1.47 billion are “prospective.”
“And between and among the 19 companies [we talked to], we are hoping to generate 55,500 jobs,” President Aquino added.
After fulfilling his weeklong trade and diplomatic sojourn in the EU, President Aquino on Sunday flew to the US to join other world leaders attending the United Nations Climate Summit in New York.
But before that, he embarked on what may be described as a nostalgic trip to Boston, the city of exile of his late father, opposition leader and former Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., and the place his late mother once described as some of their happiest years as a family.
Mr. Aquino arrived in Boston at 9:30 a.m. on Sunday (Manila time) following his four-country visit to Europe, where he cemented bilateral ties and sought to woo investors by citing the gains made in his administration’s campaign to reform the bureaucracy and ease the process of doing business.
Malacañang reported over the weekend that Mr. Aquino and his delegation flew directly to the US on a chartered Philippine Airlines flight for a five-day trip to Boston, New York and San Francisco.
The highlight of that US trip is President Aquino’s attendance at the United Nations Climate Change Summit in New York, to deliver “a four-minute speech,” according to a Palace statement.
Briefing Manila-based reporters on the US leg of Mr. Aquino’s two-week trip abroad—the longest he had been out of the country since assuming the presidency—Foreign Assistant Secretary Maria Andrelita Austria said, “as in all of the President’s trips abroad, the primary objectives of the [US] visit will be to continue to project the Philippines as an emerging economy and investment destination in Asia; to promote the country as having an economy with sound credentials built on the back of good governance principles; and to highlight the country’s role as an archipelagic and maritime nation with key advocacies in maritime security, maritime safety, promotion and growth of the blue economy and sustainable development.”
She said Mr. Aquino will also touch base with the Filipino community in the US.
Austria confirmed the President will take time to meet the Aquinos’ “family friends” in Boston, where he will be on Sunday and Monday (September 21 and 22).
“Basically, old family friends [mostly his parents’ friends when they were in Boston]. I think there’s just one event where he will have a chance to say hello to all of them and catch up,” she said.
“So, if we go by the schedule, the President arrives in Boston in the late evening of September 20 from Berlin. As the President has spent many years in Boston with his family, the first few activities will basically be personal visits to old friends,” Ausria said. “Then, in the afternoon, he will be honored at the Boston College. We will start with a special Mass followed by a convocation, followed by a reception with members of the Filipino-American community in the New York-Boston area.”
In Boston, he was also scheduled to meet with some scholars from the Benigno and Corazon Aquino Scholarship Foundation.
Austria said that on Monday, September 22, the President was to meet with Rep. Joseph Kennedy III (Fourth District, Massachusetts), who visited the Philippines recently and had invited him to visit Boston.
On Monday afternoon Mr. Aquino will be receiving three business calls from three big American companies, and then do an interview with the National Public Radio, said Austria. Later, he will deliver a policy speech at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
From Boston, he flies on Tuesday to New York, where he will do media interviews with major print and TV companies.
At 10:45 a.m. of Tuesday (New York time), the President will be joining other world leaders for the UN Climate Change Summit at the UN Headquarters.
Later in the day, he will have a business roundtable with the US Chamber of Commerce, the US-Asean Business Council and the US-Philippines Society. In the afternoon he will speak at the World Leaders Forum at the Columbia University.
Mr. Aquino departs New York for San Francisco the next day. Austria said the San Francisco leg “was supposedly only a technical stop, but we have had requests from big business companies to meet the President. So we have arranged for at least two business meetings in San Francisco.”
The President flies back to Manila on September 25.