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

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

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.

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Date of Release: December 2018

15 February 2018 – APEC  Business  Advisory  Council  (ABAC)  Philippines  members  call on  the  local  business  community  to  share  the  benefits  of  growth  and  embrace  the digital  economy.  These  echoed  the  key themes  of  the  first  ABAC  meeting  for  2018 held in Auckland, New Zealand last February 1-4.
Tomas  Alcantara,  chair  of  ABAC  Philippines,  noted  how  APEC  plays  a  critical  role towards  achieving  the  shared  goal  of  inclusivity  which  will  directly  impact  the domestic  economy. “APEC represents an important region because it accounts for 64% of the Philippines’ foreign direct investments, 84% of its exports, and 63% of the Overseas Filipino population.”
Prospects for Asia-Pacific indicate that the region remains abound with opportunities. According  to  IMF  experts, Asia-Pacific  GDP  would  expand  by  5.4% this  year,  far outstripping  the  rate  of  advanced  economies  at  2%. Forecast  for  the  Philippines is even  brighter  with  the  agency  predicting  a  6.7%  growth  for  2018. The recent conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership by 11 APEC economies, seen as one of the key pathways to an integrated Asia-Pacific economy, is welcomed as a positive step to regional inclusivity."
Therefore, the Philippines should continue to engage the APEC community with the following strategies: (1) push for greater connectivity, (2) promote further liberalization of   trade,   (3)   adapt   to   industrialization,   and   (4)   achieve   a people-centered development,” explained  Mr.  Alcantara. He stated that MSME development,  the services  agenda, and  infrastructure finance are among the policy areas where the Philippines is most active.
ABAC PH member Joanne de Asis emphasized in Auckland how infrastructure provides the backbone of an inclusive economy, and that adequate financing is the lifeblood of infrastructure development in the region. “Infrastructure projects are the concrete and tangible outcomes of APEC’s and ABAC’s role in promoting prosperity in the region,” Ms. De Asis said. “Infrastructure finance, particularly  an  opportunity opening up in a pool of Islamic infrastructure financing, represents an alternative, new channel for funding projects under the government’s Build, Build, Build program. We look  forward  to  playing  an  active  role  in  this  new  area  of  work within ABAC,” she added.
Another big focus of ABAC this year is digital economy. In line with this, the private sector body of APEC has created a new working group that would address digital and innovation issues.
For ABAC Philippines’ Guillermo Luz, digital innovation as a new policy  topic  within ABAC  is  particularly  relevant  for  the  Philippines, which  has a  strong  service-oriented economy. “We will look at the opportunities and adjustments to the economy that were brought about  by  technologies  such  as  artificial  intelligence,  robotics  and machine learning, among others. It is estimated that as much as 80% of existing jobs today may be changed significantly or outright eliminated in the next 40-50 years and replaced by even larger number of new jobs. The implications on today’s educational system and curriculum will be massive,” Mr. Luz said.
ABAC 2018 chair David Toua of Papua New Guinea (PNG) explained what this focus on digital innovation means for Asia-Pacific. “The digital economy provides a springboard for small business, women and other disadvantaged groups to take part in trade and connect around the region.” PNG  is  the chair  for  2018  of APEC and ABAC meetings and will host the APEC Summit later this year.
He noted, however, that the full potential of a “Digital Asia-Pacific” could not be realized  without investing  to  counter  the  digital  divide  that  risks  leaving the  most vulnerable groups behind. “In all economies, we also need to nurture a future-ready workforce. That means putting in place the right settings for digital infrastructure, skills and education, and region-wide digital business-friendly regulation,” Mr. Toua added.
Explaining the thrust of PNG’s chairmanship for 2018, Mr. Toua said, “Growth is clearly an essential but not a sufficient condition for secure and prosperous communities.” He further stated, “We need to look closely at our economies’ policies to ensure that people can   actually take advantage   of   the   opportunities that growth brings. Harnessing inclusive opportunities is a key mantra for this year.”
With this year’s theme, “Digitization and Innovation –Advancing Social Harmony,” other specific priorities discussed in the ABAC meeting include improving connectivity; structural reform especially in  the  services  sector;  reducing trade and investment barriers; creating opportunities for MSMEs; strengthening financial systems; and grappling with issues around sustainable growth such as food and energy security.♦
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