MANILA, The Philippines – The Philippines and France vowed to closely collaborate on sectors of mutual interest thru promotion/more frequent business visits, technical capacity building exchanges in emerging industries, and promote greater trade and investments given the strong complementation of the two countries.

Capacity building programs for animation services, green design, content development, satellite development, and data sharing were among those identified during the said JEC, a high level economic dialogue platform which enables the Philippines to engage partner countries to discuss areas for trade, investment, business cooperation, and other related matters to advance bilateral economic ties.  

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez who together with French Secretary of State for Europe and Foreign Affairs Jean Baptiste Lemoyne, opened the 8th Philippines-France Joint Economic Commission (JEC) also exhorted business leaders from both sides to engage their counterparts more frequently by exchanging business missions and participating in each other’s startup events and key trade expositions such as the DTI-CITEM organized Manila FAME and the International Food Exhibition.

In his address, Secretary Lopez encouraged France to “closely look into the vast opportunities for growth in trade and investment between our countries.”

Secretary Lopez cited the significant increase in trade and investment figures posted by both countries in 2018, but challenged the French to further engage their counterparts from the various Philippine business sectors considering the strong macro-economic performance of the country, and the opportunities already being aggressively explored by other investors from Asia-Pacific, the Americas, Middle East and the rest of Europe.

During the JEC, the Philippines also conveyed its interest to pursue cooperation with France in the areas of renewable energy, e-commerce, collaborative research and development, shipbuilding and buoy-making, auto-electronics, IC design, and electronics design with space legacy, including accessing technical expertise from France.

Possible cooperation ventures between Philippine and French entities were also identified, including a Memorandum of Understanding between ASCIEL Alliance Electronique and the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries of the Philippines, Inc. Foundation (SEIPI). Updates were also provided in the implementation of previously-signed agreements in the maritime industry, aerospace, infrastructure and transportation including feasibility study projects on cable cars and an international food terminal.

In 2018, total trade between the Philippines and France grew to USD2.64 billion, up by 52.43% from its 2017 level of USD1.73 billion.
Philippine exports to France in particular was up by 38.48%, from USD807.63 million in 2017 to USD1.118 billion in 2018.  Top items included vessels of transport, electronics products, and parts of airplanes. Philippine exports to France represents about 10% of total products sent to the EU.

French exports to the Philippines on the other hand was up by 64.63%, from USD924.81 in 2017 to USD1.522 billion in 2019.  The Philippines purchased airplanes and its parts, and medicaments from France in 2018.

The total trade figure placed France as the 15th largest country-trading partner of the Philippines, behind only two other EU countries – – Germany and the Netherlands.  France was also the country’s 16th largest country-source of products, and the Philippines’ 12th largest export destination.

The Joint Economic Commission meeting between the Philippines and France was co-chaired by DTI Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo, and French Ministry of Economy and Finance Deputy Director for Bilateral Affairs Christophe Bories.

It was participated in by representatives from the Philippine and French governments, Philippine business leaders and a delegation from the Mouvement des Enterprises de France – Internationale or MEDEF International, the French business confederation group that is considered the “most representative organisation of the French private sector at an international level.”♦

Date of release: 28 June 2019