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PH trade mission on UK, Northern Europe rounds

/ 08:14 PM September 22, 2013

Philippine trade officials and business leaders will be in Europe next month to try to translate marketing and promotions efforts into new investment pledges and partnerships.

Trade Undersecretary Ponciano Manalo told reporters that a high-level business delegation would be in London (hosted by UK Trade Minister Lord Stephen Green) on Oct. 2 and 3.

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There will also be trips to Scandinavian countries and other sites in Europe with Philippine Economic Zone Authority (Peza) director general Lilia de Lima joining the rounds.

“The focus is investment. We will have a big delegation going there,” Manalo said. “Europe is undergoing financial difficulty but that doesn’t last forever. So we want to establish ourselves early,” he added.

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About 23 firms and/or industries are expected to be represented.

Officials of the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (ITBAP); oil firm Shell; banks HSBC, Standard Chartered Bank, China Bank, and Planters Development Bank (through its chair, Ambassador Jesus Tambunting); British American Tobacco; Unilever; and airline firms will likely join, Manalo said.

Also in the London program are talks by Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Deputy Governor Diwa Gunigundo, Public Private Partnership Center executive director Cosette Canilao, and ITBAP president and CEO Jose Mari Mercado.

Besides targeting UK-based financial services firms, the Philippines is also looking for a British investors in automotive parts as well as animation.

After the UK meetings, Manalo will join at least 15 Philippine food exhibitors in Germany for the Anuga Trade Fair on Oct. 4 and 5.

He will also be on a roadshow in Stockholm, Sweden on Oct. 6 or 7, plus a one-day program in Finland with potential investors.

Meanwhile, Peza’s De Lima will be going to Copenhagen, Denmark and Oslo, Norway on Oct. 8 and 9.

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“We shared the work on four countries in the Northern (European) area. Her focus is on information technology. Europe asked us to go and pitch for the Philippines so we are acceding,” Manalo said.

Besides manufacturing investments that could boost merchandise exports, the Philippine government is also seeking support for services, such as IT and animation work.

The services sector accounts for about a fifth of total exports and is seen to cushion the effects of a volatile electronics exports market.

The Philippines is aiming for at least a single-digit expansion in total exports (including merchandise and services) from last year despite volatile demand for electronics, according to Department of Trade Industry-Bureau of Export Trade Promotion director Senen Perlada, who is also the executive director of the Export Development Council.

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