In photo: DTI Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba during her presentation at the CEO Business Forum.

(Sydney, Australia) – CEO’s of some of the biggest Australian companies were impressed with the Philippines’ new industrial policy on innovation and its vision to be an AI Center of Excellence.

I am impressed with what the Philippines is doing. It is an ambitious undertaking but clearly the country’s strength lies in its people and it would be even more attractive if the skills of the workforce will be upgraded as the country moves forward to industry 4.0 and the new digital era,” said Mr. Paul Watson, managing director of Southern Infrastructure Pty Ltd, a consortium of construction, building, and specialist civil engineering companies in Australia.

The opportunities are also massive and we are particularly interested in infrastructure projects in the Philippines through the BOOT (Build, Own, Operate, Transfer) scheme,” Watson added.

Meanwhile, Macquarie Group Chair Peter Warne reaffirmed his commitment to invest more in the Philippines and remarked that he is impressed with the enthusiasm and quality of the workers in the Philippines.

Macquarie Group Limited operates an offshore shared services center in Manila with over 900 workers. The Sydney-based investment bank and financial services company, through Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA) in partnership with Arran Investment, an affiliate of Singaporean sovereign wealth fund GIC acquired shareholdings in the Philippines’ largest producer of geothermal energy, Energy Development Corporation, expanding Macquarie’s renewable energy investments.

This was one of the highlights of the discussion during an exclusive gathering of business leaders hosted by the Australia Philippines Business Council (APBC) and the Philippine Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) in partnership with Ernst & Young (EY), which was held on 12 June 2019 at the EY office in Sydney.

The roundtable and business forum discussed key opportunities that have or will come into view for Australian businesses in the Philippines, as well as insights into one of the most dynamic economies in the Asia Pacific with the World Bank reporting 6.2 percent growth in 2018.

APBC president Mr. Eduard Alcordo noted the country’s economic performance as one of the best in Asia and shared some of the companies that are already doing business between the two countries such as Macquarie Group, Telstra, Austal, QBE, Acquire BPO in the Philippines and San Miguel Packaging, RamCar, and ICTSI, among others in Australia.

Meanwhile, DTI Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba underscored in her keynote address that things have changed in the Philippines making the country the brightest spot in Asia and shared the Philippines’ new industrial policy on innovation.

Our new inclusive innovation industrial policy or I3s aims to bring innovation at the front and center of our policies - to upgrade and develop new industries, upskill our workforce, remove obstacles to growth to attract more investments and create jobs, strengthen domestic supply chains, participate in global value chains and link manufacturing with agriculture and services,” Aldaba explained.

“This opens up new opportunities for advanced products and technologies and innovation focused on sectors such as electronics, automotive, aerospace, chemicals, IT-BPM and agribusiness.” Aldaba noted.

There are also new areas for investments such as the estimated US$378 M Philippine startup ecosystem with opportunities in fintech, enterprise solutions, AI and machine learning. If you look at the metrics, our Philippine startup ecosystem is still young but full of potential and embedded capabilities. Our vision is to make the Philippines as an AI Center of Excellence in the region focused on data science, analytics, chip design and software development,” Aldaba said.

Aldaba added that the Philippines is fertile ground for investments in infrastructure with big ticket projects such as airports, railways, bridges and roads, building of better and smarter cities and other construction-related projects lined up until 2022. There are also opportunities in both renewable and conventional energy as the country requires an additional 43,765 MW capacity by 2040. Moreover, there is a demand for copper wire rods for the semi-conductor, electronics and automotive industries.

Aldaba concluded that there are still more scope for collaboration on the trade and investment relations between the Philippines and Australia. In 2018, Australia ranked as the Philippines’ 18th major trading partner, 19th export market and 17th import supplier with total bilateral trade of over US$ 2.1 billion. There are over 300 Australian companies in PH engaged in manufacturing, real estate, energy, IT-BPM and others.

Meanwhile, First Pacific Capital Underwriters Pty Limited (FPCU), a boutique investment bank in Australia, and Acudeen Technologies Incorporated, a financial technology startup company and owner of an online block chain enabled invoice factoring platform, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to invest in the Australian Factoring Sector. Under the MOU, the parties intend to capture 0.32% of the market share in Australia equivalent to US$240 M within 12 months of full operation.

The MOU was signed by Mr. Eduard Alcordo, director of FPCU, and Mr. Mario Jordan Fetalino III, CEO of Acudeen Technologies. The signing was witnessed by Philippine Consul General Maria Teresa Taguiang and DTI Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba together with APBC executives.♦

Date of Release: 12 June 2019

Find out why Australian businesses should partner with the Philippines in this interview by Lawrence Christoffelz, CEO of Australian Trade Logistics Corporation ( with Consul Commercial Alma Argayoso.

Ms. Argayoso discussed the strong economic growth of the Philippines making it one of the most dynamic economies in the Asia-Pacific with the World Bank reporting 6.2% growth in 2018, the country's enviable position and advantages as a trade and investment partner, as well as the country's priority sectors and key opportunities for Australian businesses wishing to partner with the Philippines.

See the interview below:

 Date of Release: 23 July 2019

The Foreign Trade Service Officers successfully conducted their regional planning consecutively held from 03-13 December 2018 to discuss and review strategies in promoting Trabaho, Negosyo, Kabuhayan (TNK) goes Global program for overseas Filipinos, Philippine Export Development Plan (PEDP), and the country’s Investment Priorities Plan to improve the Philippines’ trade relations and increase investments for the year 2019 onward, among others.

Click here for more photos.

Date of Release: December 2018

Local and international food connoisseurs will get to taste and discover Filipino cuisine as Australia’s iconic food and wine festival brings the spotlight on Filipino cuisine at the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (MFWF) happening on 9-13 March 2019.

In a series of events that will feature and celebrate Filipino cuisine, top chefs from Manila, New York and Melbourne will serve Filipino food and also conduct masterclasses during the MFWF.
Chefs Jordy Navarra, Nicole Ponseca and Yasmin Newman will prepare a one-off 'BARRIO' dinner series with Ross Magnaye, head chef of Rice Paper Sister Restaurant on 12 and 13 March 2019. This dining series if part of the Global Dining Series of MFWF.

Navarra runs Toyo Eatery in Manila, crowned with the Miele One to Watch Award 2018 amongst Asia's 50 Best Restaurants. Ponseca is behind New York City's Maharlika and Jeepney, while local food and travel writer Newman is the author of the critically acclaimed cookbook, 7000 Islands: Cherished Recipes and Stories from the Philippines.

These three global chefs will join Magnaye to tell the story of their shared heritage, culinary journeys and advocacy for the cuisine they love most – Filipino.

Drawing on their Filipino heritage, these gourmands will co-create an exclusive BARRIO menu, providing the entree for MFWF visitors to immerse themselves in the Philippines’ rich culinary heritage.
The House of Food & Wine, the festival’s premium drinking and dining destination will also host a program of activities including its signature MasterClass with Jordy Navarra and Nicole Ponseca, and John Rivera in the line up on Sunday 10 March, while Rice Paper Sister will help showcase some sizzling Asian Street Food Filipino style on Saturday 9 March.


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Sydney – Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez shared how the Philippines (PH) is preparing for the “future of work” during the CEO Forum held at the sidelines of ASEAN-Australia Special Summit last 17 March.

The CEO Forum gathered ASEAN and Australian business leaders to discuss six main topics vital to deepening economic integration. The topics, discussed in separate CEO Forum Roundtables, were (1) tourism destination development and aviation; (2) digital transformation in services; (3) advanced manufacturing and industry 4.0; (4) agri-food supply chain logistics; (5) future energy supply chains; and (6) infrastructure.

“The Philippines is developing inclusive innovation hubs to prepare our workforce, and allow them to adapt to technological advancements,” said the Trade Secretary.

The Department’s Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy (i3S), that tightens the synergy between the industry and academe, would require a future-ready workforce. Government policies and projects on education, internship, training must be aligned and pushed. Industry links with the academe should accelerate their R and D innovation efforts while academe’s interaction with the industry will ensure that their research works will be relevant and market driven.

According to Lopez, PH education system now is encouraged to create a value system that promotes creativity and innovation. Likewise, students are now taught to understand the how-to's and the why's.

The goal of these initiatives is to prepare the Filipino workforce for future jobs that include artificial intelligence (AI). “We need to create an AI workforce that is more inclusive and will give a chance to much more Filipinos to be employed,” Lopez said. Advancing these skills will also provide job security for current roles that are endangered by technology.

Meanwhile, Sec. Lopez cited President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's call for inclusive globalization, developing a symbiotic relation between big countries and small countries. This aims to encourage major economies to help developing countries, providing enabling programs that will build capacities in the developing nations and then ensuring as well that they open more market access for their products and services. This will certainly lead to a more shared prosperity in a globalizing world.

The event was opened by Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison MP who emphasized the importance of establishing greater linkages between both regions. Economic ministers were asked questions on trade, tourism, employment, and other cooperation initiatives between ASEAN and Australia.♦

Date of release: 21 March 2018

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