01 April 2019

Published also in Business Mirror

THE Philippines and United Kingdom convened the first Philippines-United Kingdom Economic Dialogue on March 21, 2019, in Makati City. The inaugural dialogue was led by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo and British Ambassador Daniel Pruce.

The dialogue marked a milestone in bilateral economic relations as both sides committed to work toward wider and deeper engagement. Topics important to the economic agenda of the Philippines and the United Kingdom  were discussed including increased trade and investment promotion, economic reforms, development of the MSME (micro-small and medium enterprises) sector sustainable and inclusive infrastructure, digital economy, banking and financial services, and social development in education and health.

Current and future economic cooperation initiatives across a broad range of sectors under the United Kingdom’s development programs, such as the Prosperity Fund were, likewise, highlighted. The dialogue was capped off by the signing of a Partnership Statement and Joint Action Plan on Economic Cooperation, Trade and Investment that includes priority sectors for deeper economic cooperation between the two sides such as on trade and investment promotion, industry collaboration, MSME development, innovation, ease of doing business reforms, transparency and anti-corruption initiatives, competition policy, ICT, transport, sustainable infrastructure, banking, fintech, green finance, capital market development, health, education and skills development.

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez, who met with Ambassador Pruce immediately after the dialogue, said the Philippines “welcomes stronger ties with the United Kingdom as one of its top trade, investment, and development partners in Europe” and noted the dialogue signals that “both sides are ready and open for more business.”

Rodolfo also underscored “the dialogue allows us to harness complementarities to further strengthen our economic ties.”

The British Ambassador said the UK “remains committed to support sustainable and inclusive development in the Philippines and to enable programmes that encourage growing bilateral trade and investment.”

With the successful convening of the inaugural dialog, the Philippines and UK look forward to increased two-way trade and investments as well as sustained collaboration in concrete and mutually beneficial economic cooperation initiatives.