Envoy: Philippines -Aussie trade links need “more push”
Carlo Lorenciana (The Freeman) - May 25, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines — More Australian companies are investing in the Philippines and vice versa.

This was among the key areas that Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson wants to give "more push".

He said he wants to see increased trade and investment between the two countries.

Speaking at a press conference at Seda Hotel in Cebu City yesterday, he pointed out the economic opportunities the two nations can further take advantage.

"Trade is something we can further bolster. More can be done," the official said.

Robinson noted that trade between the Philippines and Australia had stood below AU$5 billion a year, a figure he thinks still has potential to grow.

"(That figure) is not really much. There's more we need to do," the Australian envoy said. "We have to give that a push."

Robinson said he wants to encourage more Australian companies to invest in the Philippines and also see more Filipino investors doing business in Australia.

To date, around 300 Australian companies are already operating in the Philippines -- ranging in sectors from banking, mining to energy -- employing more than 44,000 people.

Among the Australian firms currently operating in the country include Austal, Telstra, QBE Group, Qantas, IDP, GHD, Crone and Greenstone.

Robinson believes the strong economic growth in the Philippines presents a lot of opportunities for Australian investors.

In fact, he sees the Philippine economy sustaining its above 6% growth in the next 10 years where he wants more companies from his country to be part of that growth.

"Your fundamentals are good. Your economy is booming," he said.

Robinson is in Cebu to grace the Philippines-Australia Friendship Day celebration.

"Australia and the Philippines are close friends. Our friendship starts with the deep bonds between our people and we enjoy broad cooperation in trade, development, defence and security," he said.

Today, over 300,000 Filipinos are living in Australia.

Education exchanges also keep the countries' people-to-people links strong.

Robinson said over 12,600 Filipinos undertake training and studies in Australia.

Every year, the Australian government sends a large number of Filipinos to study in top universities under the Australia Awards Scholarships.

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