A French company has expressed interest in investing P1.5 billion in a shipyard project in the Philippines, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said on Wednesday.
Shipbuilding company OCEA, through its Chief Executive Officer Roland Joassard, informed Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez and French Minister for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness Franck Riester about its potential venture during a recent joint economic committee (JEC) meeting. It is seen to generate 500 to 600 direct and indirect jobs.
The JEC meeting held virtually earlier this month focused on economic discussions and commitments forged on bilateral cooperation including agriculture; civil aviation, aeronautics and space; creative industries; electronics; energy and green technology; and infrastructure and transportation, and the maritime and shipbuilding sectors.
“This JEC meeting is a testament on how the Philippines and France are now rebuilding together, after global challenges faced during the early phase of the pandemic,” Lopez said.
Both countries also agreed to pursue collaborative projects on specific integrated circuit design given the partnerships in the academe and electronics groups, namely Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Inc. and Alliance Electronique. DTI noted that both industry groups have been conducting business-to-business meetings since 2019 when they signed a memorandum of understanding.
Riester confirmed the financial support for the upcoming projects with the Transportation department, financial aid supporting the training boat contract of Philippine Merchant Marine Academy and the potential maritime expert proposal.
French space agency Centre National d’Etudes Spatiale also invited the Philippine Space Agency to join the Space Climate Observatory Initiative. It is group of space agencies and international organizations with the purpose of monitoring the consequences of climate change.
“In the virtual presence of its French partner, Centre National du Cinema, the Film Development Council of the Philippines proposed continuing projects in film and animation that have already seen Philippine-made content gain attention in top French animation trade fair events in Annecy this year through the local film council’s partnership with French creative groups,” the DTI said.
The Philippines and France also enumerated specific projects on dairy development, geographical indications, and control and elimination of African swine fever. Both also discussed areas for market access as they gear up for a future bilateral agricultural meeting.
The next JEC is set in 2022 in Paris.
Total trade between the Philippines and France fell by 52.4 percent to $1.1 billion last year from $2.3 billion in 2019, according to the Philippine Statistics Authority. Broken down, exports by the Philippines to France slid by 40.3 percent to $476.6 million while imports from the latter declined by 58.8 percent to $627 million.