MANILA, Philippines - The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has partnered with an organization based in the United Kingdom (UK) to promote the Philippines as a place for business to British companies.
Trade Undersecretary Ponciano Manalo Jr. said in an interview with reporters the memorandum of understanding (MOU) was signed with Asia House during the visit of DTI officials to the UK earlier this month.
“It (MOU) is a trade and investment cooperation over the next three years and renewable,” he said.
Asia House is a non-profit, non-political organization, which seeks to bring the UK closer to Asia by organizing various events covering business, policy as well as arts and learning.
Under the MOU, the Philippines and Asia House will share best practices and work together to promote the Philippines to British companies.
The parties will also organize business missions.
The first business mission under the MOU will arrive in the Philippines in November, while a business mission to the UK is being organized for next year.
The partnership with Asia House supports the DTI’s efforts in attracting more companies from the UK to come to the Philippines and start operations in the country.
Manalo said the DTI wants to encourage investments from UK firms in the following sectors: Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects, infrastructure, financial and insurance services, and information technology - business process management.
Aside from getting more investments from the UK, the partnership is also in line with the DTI’s strategy of forging stronger economic ties with Europe.
During the visit to the UK, the DTI officials discussed with British counterparts the Philippines’ beneficiary status to the European Union (EU) Generalized System of Preferences Plus (GSP+) and the advantages it offers to companies with manufacturing facilities in the country.
In December, the Philippines secured EU GSP+ beneficiary status which allows the country to export 6,274 products at zero duty to the bloc for 10 years.
Prior to the grant of EU GSP+ status to the Philippines, the country was a beneficiary of the regular GSP program which only covered 6,209 products, with 2,442 products subject to zero duty and the rest slapped with lower tariffs.
Manalo said DTI officials likewise discussed the benefits of the EU GSP+ status to counterparts and companies in France during a visit earlier this month.
In France, the DTI focused on promoting the following sectors: aerospace, design-driven or creative products, PPP projects, infrastructure and food.
Manalo said some UK and French companies with existing operations in the Philippines would like to expand, while a few are interested to come and set up shop in the country.