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PH-Australia trade doubled to A$3.9b in 7 years

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Bilateral trade between the Philippines and Australia doubled to A$3.9 billion in 2016 from A$1.5 billion in 2010, the Australian Embassy said.

Australian Embassy senior trade commissioner Elodie Journet said Tuesday during the annual reception night at the Ambassador’s residence in Forbes Park that trade between the two countries continued to improve.

“What is interesting for us is the shift in the sectors traded. Traditionally, Australia has been active in the commodities sector, in terms of food and beverage. Now, one of the areas we see a lot of traction is the services area – the BPOs and KPOs,” she said.

Journet said Australia has been investing a lot in the Philippines’ BPO industry.

She said there were 280 Australian companies investing in the Philippines.  As of 2016, investments by Australian companies hit A$10 billion while their total employment reached 30,000 workers.

Companies such as Telstra and start-ups like Canva are looking for increased footprint and bigger exposure in the Philippines, she said. 

Telstra with its contractor in the Philippines employs about 15,000 Filipinos.

“We’re not thinking anymore of the Philippines as your basic call center type of BPO. We’re looking at elevating the services, making them more technical, more knowledge-based,” she said.

She said Australia aimed to bring in more Australian providers that specialize in the “jobs of the future” such  cyber security and data analytics.

“It’s good news on the part of Australia or any economy to  move into services, develop this sector as additional source of revenue,” said Journet.

Meanwhile, the Australian government is seeking increased cooperation with the Philippines’ Environment Department on the mining sector.

Australia offers to share knowledge with the Environment Department on how it created its mining policy.


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