MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA–In partnership with the Australia-Philippine Business Council (APBC), the Philippine Australia Business Council (PABC), and the Australia-New Zealand Business Chamber (ANZCHAM), the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) organized the Philippine Business Forum in Australia to showcase the robust Philippine economy to potential Australian investors.

DTI Highlights PH economic strength at Philippine Business Forum in Australia

“We see opportunities for Australian businesses to invest in the Philippines’ priority sectors such as critical minerals, renewable energy, education and training, and agriculture,” said Secretary Pascual as he urged Australian counterparts and its business community to explore mutually beneficial economic partnerships with the Philippines.

In his remarks, Secretary Pascual touted the Philippines as one of the most dynamic economies in Southeast Asia, recording a gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of 5.6 percent in 2023. This growth surpassed many major East and Southeast Asian economies and showcased the country’s robust economic performance.

Notably, the bilateral trade between the Philippines and Australia surpassed the pre-pandemic levels, reaching USD 4.1 billion in 2023. To further enhance trade and investment relations, the Philippines has recently signed essential policy instruments, such as the Second Protocol of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA).

Beyond the equal gains from the two-way trade, Secretary Pascual underscored the mutual benefits of bilateral investment flows, with over 300 Australian companies employing 40,000 Filipino workers in various sectors. He identified potential collaboration in priority sectors aligned with Australia’s Southeast Asia Economy Strategy 2024, which promotes the transition to a greener economy and achieving a low-carbon future.

The DTI secretary received strong backing from government officials in presenting a compelling case for Australian investment in the Philippines.

Department of Finance Secretary Ralph Recto emphasized the Philippines’ promising economic outlook. He showcased the Philippines’ robust fiscal performance and commitment to long-term fiscal health through the Medium-Term Fiscal Framework. This framework aims to reduce the fiscal deficit, promote fiscal sustainability, and enable robust economic growth.

Meanwhile, Department of Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla focused on attracting foreign investment in the energy sector. He outlined specific incentives for Australian investors, including eased foreign ownership restrictions for various renewable energy projects and increased investment in clean energy sources like offshore wind.

PEZA Director General Tereso Panga emphasized the Philippines’ attractive investment climate due to its skilled workforce, abundant natural resources, favorable trade agreements, stable economy, and strategic location.

Key executives from the Philippine Nickel Industry Association, Victoria International Container Terminal, and Ayala-led ACEN Corporation also presented their keenness to capitalize on the growing economic collaboration between the Philippines and Australia during the first part of the forum’s program.

These concerted discussions amplified DTI Secretary Pascual’s efforts to highlight the country’s economic strength, fiscal responsibility, and commitment to sustainable growth.

“With our shared and unwavering commitment to firmly pursue a more dynamic, open, and sustained partnership, we are poised to reap the benefits of a robust Philippines-Australia relationship,” said Secretary Pascual.

The Philippine Business Forum fosters new connections and networking opportunities for the Philippine delegation in key sectors within the Australian market. It also builds on the success of the Philippines-Australia Ministerial Meeting (PAMM) in October 2023 with Australia’s Trade and Tourism Minister Don Farrell, which involved a roundtable meeting with the members of the Australia-Philippines Business Council.