Ladies and gentlemen, a good day to you all!

We would like to offer our warmest regards to the Filipino and Australian Community as we mark the 75th Anniversary of Philippines-Australia diplomatic relations.

Today, we wish to discuss our “Make it Happen in the Philippines” global campaign, which highlights five key Philippine sectors that Australian businesses may be interested in Information Technology and Business Process Management (IT-BPM), copper, electronics, automotive, and aerospace.

More appreciably, the country’s new investment promotion brand goes beyond being a tagline. Highlighting the Filipino trait of resilience and “make it work” mindset that exudes strength and adaptability even in times of adversity, “Make it Happen in the Philippines” is a promise that we will BUILD BACK BETTER in creating more inclusive growth in the country.

We believe this campaign will further strengthen the strong trade ties between our two nations, which date back to the 1800s. As of last year, Australia ranked as our top 15th major trading partner—with total trade amounting to USD 1.1B—as well as our 20th top export market, and our 15th top import supplier. And from January to March of this year, total trade between our two nations has already reached USD 474.8M, with more room to grow.

Australia likewise ranked as our 13th top source of approved investments last year. In this light, we hope to strengthen the following Australian investments to our country: IT-BPM, public-private partnership and infrastructure, and shipbuilding, among others.

Presently, some major Fortune 500 companies or leading Australian companies have operations in the Philippines, like Macquarie Group, Telstra, ANZ, QBE, Acquire BPO, TMA Group, and Oceana Gold. There are Philippines companies operating in Australia as well, like Monde Nissin, Ramcar, and San Miguel Yamamura Corp. 

Interested companies can take advantage of the Philippines’ preferential access in major markets through our Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), as well as the European Union’s (EU) Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (or GSP+). Meanwhile, the ASEAN-Australia Free Trade Agreement and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement are expected to boost trade and investments between our two nations, as well as the rest of the region.

Likewise, we’d like to cite the Philippine economy’s resilience, which can be attributed to one of the country’s key advantages—its people.

Our economy still exhibits solid fundamentals with a 110M population, that has a demographic sweet spot, with an average young age of 24 years old. And that means more productive years ahead of them that should serve as a rich pool of manpower resources needed for growth, as well as a continuously growing consumer base with increasing income and purchasing power.

The demographic sweet spot also reflects a relatively young 49M highly-skilled, educated, dedicated, and cost-efficient workforce with a very low attrition rate. Furthermore, our people are well known across the world as highly capable, hardworking, highly trainable, fluent in English, and with cost-competitive talent. The Philippines also has had a lower number of strikes and lockouts as compared to other countries around us.

Our economy is well on track to achieving a V-shaped recovery from the pandemic this year, as we see the recent results in our GDP, lower unemployment rates, regaining the previous levels of manufacturing PMI indices, and the recent 72% growth in exports last April.

We are facilitating greater trade and investment in the country by continuously pursuing reforms to foster a better business environment. To this end, we have the game-changing Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (or CREATE) Act to make the investment climate in the Philippines significantly more attractive. We are also committed to supporting liberalization to enhance our country’s competitiveness by amending our Retail Trade Liberalization Act (RTLA), the Foreign Investments Act (FIA), and the Public Services Act (PSA). These laws have been certified urgent by Philippine President Rodrigo Roa Duterte, and will boost our efforts of attracting more investments and creating more jobs in the Philippines.

Thus, we hope to invite our Australian friends to partner with us and “Make It Happen in the Philippines!” And even as we create new jobs and employment for the Filipino people and give them a greater quality of life, we look forward to a stronger and more robust economic relationship between our two nations in the future! Thank you very much and mabuhay tayong lahat!

Date of Release: 15 June 2021