MANILA, Philippines—The UK Minister of State for Trade and Investment expects bilateral trade between the Philippines and the United Kingdom to double within the next five years.
Lord Stephen Green of Hurstpierpoint said in a briefing on Tuesday that this could be achieved by “encouraging British businesses to look at opportunities here and encouraging Filipino businesses to look at opportunities [in Britain] through trade missions.”
“In two weeks’ time, there is a Filipino trade mission going to the UK and we’re hoping that there will be a big number of Filipino businesses joining that trip. The purpose of this is to look for opportunities in Britain,” Lord Green said.
“This is a two-way thing. I think we can look at doubling trade in both directions. Doubling [trade] should not be an unreasonable challenge and we expect to achieve that over a five-year period,” Lord Green added.
Data from the British Embassy in Manila showed that two-way trade of goods and services amounted to about £1.2 billion in 2012. Total UK exports of goods and services to the Philippines rose by 13 percent to more than £550 million last year.
In the same briefing, Trade Undersecretary Ponciano Manalo Jr. noted that there were products and services in four sectors that the Philippines could offer to UK firms. These are in the areas of business process management (BPM), automotive parts, creative services and processed and consumer-packaged food.
At present, more British companies are expanding and entering the Philippine market. Among the recent successes are the launch of men’s wear brand TM Lewin, the opening of the new Bentley showroom, the entry of Rolls Royce, the start of deliveries of new Airbus planes with major British components under the $7-billion deal with Philippine Airlines, and the tender won by GlaxoSmithKline for the supply to the Department of Health of pneumococcal vaccine this year.
A number of British companies are also doing well in the Philippines, including Unilever, Shell, HSBC, Standard Chartered, Pru Life, De La Rue, GSK, Arup and Halcrow.—Amy R. Remo