PART of the British Embassy’s Great Festival Celebration to highlight business opportunities in the Visayas, the British Chamber of Commerce Philippines (BCCP) is organizing a trade mission to Iloilo on March 8 and 9, as revealed by Chris Nelson, chairman of the BCCP, in a news briefing.
The two-day event will gather an estimated total of 100 participants and will include three main components: 1) The Iloilo Trade and Investment Forum, with the topics “Innovation is GREAT: A Showcase of Innovative Practices,” “How to Protect your Innovation in the Philippines,” “Investment Opportunities in Iloilo,” as well as “Developing Iloilo’s Economic Viability;” 2) site visits around Iloilo, with a tentative itinerary at the Iloilo Business Park, Iloilo Commercial Port Complex, Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center and other homegrown industries; and 3) business networking and cocktails.
With the theme “Promoting Regional Development Towards Prosperity For All,” it will highlight a trade and investment forum on Day 1 that will aim to facilitate a dialogue between the government and private sectors.
Keen on the Visayas
THE Visayas region’s development has been on the rise, with a growth rate expected to reach 7.7 percent to 8.3 percent in the next five years.
“Along with recent government objectives to further this growth and the success of BCCP’s Davao Mission last year, this event seeks to encourage more United Kingdom footprint in the Philippines and more regional development through both domestic [as well as] foreign investment and trade,” Nelson said.
The British Chamber has actively demonstrated its support to the government’s 10-point socioeconomic agenda in the past year. In March 2017 the BCCP organized a highly successful trade and investment mission to Davao City, which resulted in two business wins to date: the Davao Investment Conference or Davao ICON in July and the DuterteNomics forum in August, which the BCCP also supported.
According to Nelson, trade relations between the UK and the Philippines remain stronger and consistent through the years with the country having been identified as one of the top 30 potential export markets in the post-Brexit era.
“UK total exports of goods and services to the Philippines in 2015 were about £628 million. It was up by 38 percent from previous years, making it the second highest worldwide,” Nelson confirmed.
He added that as of 2015, the UK has the largest European investments in the Philippines, which is worth in excess of £1 billion, or about $1.2 billion.
Top UK exports include electrical machinery, pharmaceuticals, industrial machinery and equipment, road vehicles, other transport equipment, power-generating machinery and equipment, as well as professional services.
Investments in the UK
NELSON also reported that more Filipino companies have also been expanding their businesses in his country. In April 2017 the Ayala conglomerate’s listed manufacturing arm Integrated Micro-electronics Inc. acquired 80 percent of the shares of STI Enterprise Ltd., a UK-based electronics-manufacturing services company.
The country’s largest food-service business Jollibee Foods Corp. is also expected to open its first store in the UK next year and was reportedly seeking to acquire British sandwich chain Pret A Manger.
The BCCP is the recognized voice of British businesses in the Philippines, promoting the interests of its 278 members with government and business associations in the country.
“At the British Chamber, we continue to engage with local businesses, business groups, the British Embassy and key players from the public sector to strengthen UK-Philippine trade relations [as well as] support the government’s efforts to improve competitiveness and ease of doing business [here] in the country. We support the development of our members’ business [as well as] social interests in the British and Philippine communities, helping them achieve their objectives,” Nelson concluded.