UK-PH trade seen unaffected by ‘Brexit’
A UK official has expressed optimism that despite his country’s so-called “Brexit” vote to leave the European Union, two-way trade and investment with the Philippines would continue to flourish as Filipino firms see more opportunities to do business with their British counterparts, the Department of Finance said.
During their recent meeting, Alok Sharma, a British Parliament minister and UK Foreign Office’s Minister for Asia-Pacific, told Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III that “Brexit has made no significant impact on British investments overseas and on the British economy, which is doing very well,” the DOF reported in a statement.
“So right now, it looks quite positive. The message that has been coming from Filipino investors in the UK is that they see an opportunity in Brexit rather than a risk,” Sharma was further quoted by the DOF as saying.
Sharma said bilateral trade and investment between the UK and the Philippines were on an upswing.
“We had a number of really good meetings actually with big companies here who also invested in the UK. We had discussions with UK companies who invested here in the Philippines. I think the overall message is that things are moving forward, obviously in terms of our trade that increased, investment has increased,” Sharma said.
The UK official also said they were interested in supporting the Philippine government’s plan to ramp up infrastructure spending.
Dominguez told Sharma that the Duterte administration’s infrastructure development thrust would focus on areas outside Metro Manila, including low-income communities in Northern Luzon, Eastern Visayas and Mindanao.
Dominguez said the government planned to invest $180 billion (or up to P9 trillion) in vital infrastructure over the next five years.
According to the DOF, Sharma was also supportive of the rehabilitation program being undertaken under the Duterte administration’s war against illegal drugs.
“There is drug rehabilitation and, from our perspective, we would very much like to support it,” Sharma was quoted by the DOF as telling Dominguez.—BEN O. DE VERA
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