THE NETHERLANDS—On Thursday, 29 June 2023, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual led the Roundtable Meeting (RTM) on the Aerospace Sector between the Philippines and The Netherlands. The RTM is a more focused approach on promoting the Philippine aerospace industry, following the Philippine Netherlands Business Forum conducted in December 2022.

The RTM was organized by the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in collaboration with the Netherlands Aerospace Group (NAG). NAG is a trade association dedicated to supporting aerospace and aviation companies in the Netherlands by facilitating networking opportunities and accessing broader markets. With over 100 members, NAG represents a remarkable 95% of the Dutch aviation industry’s revenue. Currently, their primary focus revolves around aerospace and airport development.

During his keynote message, Secretary Pascual emphasized that the Philippine government finds the aerospace and aviation industry significant in the country’s pursuit of economic recovery and expansion. Developments in this industry do not only generate employment opportunities for Filipinos but also facilitate knowledge transfer and technological development, which, in turn, will help position the Philippines as a key player in the global market.

Identifying possible areas of collaboration between the Philippines and the Netherlands, Secretary Pascual said that, “The Netherlands has a strong aviation and aerospace infrastructure, with world-class airports, aerospace research facilities, and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) services. We are open to collaborate with you in sharing expertise, promoting investments, and strengthening the aviation infrastructure in both countries, enabling us to keep up with global demands.”

From L-R (front row): DOE Assistant Secretary Mylene Capongcol; Chairman of the Board of NAG Lex Besselink; DTI Secretary Fred Pascual; Philippine Ambassador to the Netherlands H.E. Jose Eduardo Malaya; DTI Undersecretary for Communications Kim Bernardo-Lokin | From L-R (back row): Nanno Kuiper, Sales Manager of Avion; Johan Godin, CEO of Aviavox; NAG Managing Director Frank Jansen; Lars Crombach of NACO; Philippine Trade and Investment Center – Brussels Commercial Counsellor Magnolia Ashley; Board of Investments Executive Director Evariste Cagatan; Jack Madrid, President of IBPAP; Dan Lachica, President of SEIPI Robert Koolen, Sales Director of Fokker Services Group

Further, Secretary Pascual sees the Netherlands as a gateway for Philippine airline companies to expand their operations in Europe given its record as a major European hub. This potential link between the two countries can facilitate business and tourism travel, as well as trade and investments between the two countries.

He also cited education and skills development, promotion of sustainable aviation, and the development of space technology and applications as other areas for collaboration. With the Netherlands having renowned aerospace engineering programs and research institutions, Secretary Pascual highlighted that the Philippines will benefit greatly from joint research projects, knowledge exchange, and training programs, building the country’s capacity in this sector.

With the shortage of engineering and talent in Europe, opportunities for outsourcing was discussed for flight simulation, voice, and engineering consultancy. While, the Dutch programme called “Partners for International Business” was also mentioned as a platform to develop a 2- to 3-year action plan to assist Dutch companies to internationalize.

In closing, Secretary Pascual said that, “Our country is positioned to be the hub for manufacturing and aftermarket services in the aerospace industry including aircraft MRO and aerospace manufacturing in the Asia Pacific region.” He likewise boasted that the Philippines is home to Collins Aerospace, the world’s leading aircraft interiors company and Lufthansa Technik, a top MRO provider.

The RTM was also attended by Philippine Ambassador to the Netherlands H.E. Jose Eduardo Malaya who delivered an opening remarks, DTI Undersecretary for Communications Kim Bernardo-Lokin, Department of Energy (DOE) Assistant Secretary Mylene Capongcol, Philippine Trade and Investment Center – Brussels Commercial Counsellor Magnolia Ashley, Board of Investments Executive Director Evariste Cagatan, Director Lanie Dormiendo, NAG Managing Director Frank Jansen, IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) President Jack Madrid, and Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation, Inc. President Dan Lachica.*

Date of release: 03 July 2023