THE Philippines and France are rescheduling this year’s Joint Economic Committee (JEC) meeting initially set for the end of November, as confirmed by Ambassador Michele Boccoz.
In an interview, Boccoz said the 10th JEC meeting between both countries will be moved to a later date to give way to “Ambition Indopacifique” that will be hosted by the French government on November 24 and 25.
The economic forum aims to strengthen France’s economic relations with the Indo-Pacific region, which includes the Philippines.
Boccoz shared the 10th JEC meeting “will probably take place at the beginning of next year” in Paris.
This will be the first face-to-face JEC meeting between the two governments since the onset of the pandemic. Manila and Paris staged the last meeting virtually in July 2021.
The French envoy said the two parties are conducting committee gatherings in preparation for the JEC’s 10th edition. These include meetings on defense and security that already took place weeks ago, agriculture, science and technology, maritime security, energy, as well as political consultations.
According to Boccoz, both the governments of the Philippines and France are prioritizing issues on food security and energy, with which they can closely link up.
“Energy sector has become [increasingly] important, considering the global situation…,” she added. “The food security dimension is going to be more present as one of our priorities.”
Boccoz said French company Hydrogen of France, or HDF Energy, which has a project in the Zamboanga Region, is eyeing to boost its presence in the Philippines.
Meanwhile, French shipbuilding firm OCEA, she said, also renewed its interest in investing locally by signing a letter of commitment to build its local shipyard, and that it is actively searching for a location that will initially construct 20 vessels at most.
Movement of the Enterprises of France’s head of delegation Philippe Matiere said they have a good interest in the country, as the Department of Transportation (DOTr) is keen on replacing second-hand roll-on roll-off vessels, or ROROs.
”The DOTr really insisted very hard on the need for [a standardized RORO vessel that would go from one island to another. Your government wished it to be built] in the Philippines,” Matiere said. “OCEA wants to enlarge its activity here by constructing different types of vessels that the DOTr would like…to be used for one island to another to replace all the second-hand, nonstandardized RORO vessels.”
The Philippines was able to capture OCEA’s planned P1.5-billion investment during the 9th JEC meeting. Kris Crismundo/PNA
Image credits: Kris Crismundo/PNA