UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – On 01 December 2023, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual held a series of business meetings at the sidelines of the 28th United Nations climate change conference (COP28) to explore potential collaboration opportunities aimed at bolstering the Philippines’ sustainability initiatives to achieve robust economic growth and expansion. He outlined potential partnerships to advance the country’s inclusive growth agenda, steering towards a science, technology and innovation-(STI) driven digital transformations.

Secretary Pascual underscored, “In our rapidly evolving economic landscape, DTI remains steadfast in pursuing sustainable growth through strategic collaborations. Our partnership with different firms signifies our commitment to pioneering initiatives that amalgamate technology and sustainability, steering the Philippines towards a future defined by innovation and economic resilience.”

In his meeting with the International Business Machines Corporation (IBM), the DTI chief and IBM Vice President for Government Affairs discussed potential areas of cooperation for skills development and opportunities in open-source artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, quantum computing, software development for Filipinos, and advanced data center infrastructures.

The trade and industry chief also discussed initiatives to position the Philippines as IBM’s data hub for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), underlining the DTI’s robust ties with global industry leaders. IBM stands as a globally integrated, leading cloud platform, and cognitive solutions company, engaging extensively in diverse aspects of the information technology business worldwide.

Meanwhile, in his meeting with DAMAC Vice President for Investments and Acquisitions Danish Nayar and Director for Investments & Acquisitions Hakim Datawala, the DTI Secretary explored potential partnerships to develop the country’s tourism sector by highlighting several ongoing Public Private Partnership (PPP) projects that will help boost national growth.

The DAMAC meeting also apprised the DTI of the status of the data center project of Edgnex in the Philippines, which is poised to become the next hyperscaler hub in APAC in terms of data center growth. The DTI chief also outlined the expansion plans for real estate and property development in one of the key tourism sites in the Philippines.

Likewise, the trade and industry chief met with Dubai Islamic Banking (DIB) Executive Vice President & Chief Investment Banking Hamid Butt, and Senior Relationships Manager Hashim Azmi to highlight the core areas for DIB’s potential investment in the Philippines. The meeting also tackled the structure of the Dubai Islamic Banking, Islamic banking, and Islamic bonds, such as sukuks and green sukuks.

Secretary Pascual underlined that the current administration through the Bangko Sentral ng Pilpinas (BSP) will provide relevant flexibility in the entry of new Islamic banking players by keeping an open line of communication with market players and new players in the Islamic banking system to ensure a competitive level playing field for different firms.

The DTI chief also met with Turbulent CEO Dr. Walter Buydens who expressed interest in establishing test centers for hydraulics in the Philippines which essential for the R&D component of Turbulent. The meeting also tackled manufacturing and sourcing opportunities for turbines and hydropower parts and outlined the requirements needed for local partnerships.

Trade and Industry Chief Pascual also met with Masdar Managing Director for APAC Sujit Parhar and Manager for Development and Investment Siddharth Nath to discuss the expansion plans of Masdar in the Philippines. Both parties elaborated on the challenges and opportunities for geothermal, wind power, hydropower, and solar power, as well as insights into ongoing projects and the tender procedures of the Department of Energy (DOE). Highlighting the significance of the DTI’s proactive engagement with different prospective investors, Secretary Pascual stressed, “As we stride into an era shaped by innovation and sustainability, the Department remains firm in its commitment to nurture a conducive business environment where partnerships with private firms will thrive and flourish. Together, we pave the way for a Bagong Pilipinas that is anchored on technological advancements, sustainability, and inclusive progress.” ♦

Date of Release: 02 December 2023