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Envoys highlight PH importance as economic partner

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Foreign envoys highlighted the importance of the Philippines as their respective country’s economic partner during the Stratbase ADR Institute’s annual Pilipinas Conference on Wednesday.

In her speech, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Hae Kyong Yu said the Philippines is one of the top priorities in Australia’s Southeast Asia Economic Strategy to 2040.

“In it, the Philippines is really very high in our priority. The Australian government is going to put money where our mouth is, to help increase the bilateral trade and investment between our two countries, because we know that’s what you need from a good friend, and that’s what we need from you as well,” she said.

In September, the Philippines and Australia elevated their relationship into a strategic partnership.

“That’s a clear indication from both of our countries that we are absolutely committed to working hand-in-hand, not only in security, in development, in people-to-people links, but also in economic security,” Yu said.

Ambassador of the United Kingdom to the Philippines Laure Beaufils said the bilateral trade between the UK and the Philippines is at the highest it has ever been.

“It’s going from strength to strength, both trade and investment, and I think that’s a testament to how positive a lot of our exporters and investors are about the state of the Philippines now and in the future,” she explained.

Beaufils, however, also pointed out that there is still room for improvement in terms of encouraging more investments in the country.

“The bottom line is still very much about the ease of doing business, very much about predictability­predictability when it comes to taxes, as well as legislation or regulatory environment. And so, we’re really delighted we’ve been working with ARTA over the last few years, but I would encourage them to continue (to) invest in that predictability, in addressing red tape and corruption,” she said.

Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines David Hartman said the Philippines is an essential economic partner.

“The Philippines is very much at the core of our Indo-Pacific strategy as an essential partner for Canada in the Indo-Pacific, as a democracy that shares our commitment to a rules-based international order, to peace and stability, free trade, inclusive multilateralism, and fundamental human rights,” he explained.

Hartman also said Canada will make targeted investments in areas that meet the Philippines’ COP economic security priorities.

This includes food security, energy security, combating and mitigating the effects of climate change, educational partnerships, maritime domain awareness, and defense procurement.

“As we build on these partnerships with the Philippines and the broader region, I want to be explicitly clear this afternoon: Canada will continue to advance integrated approaches to economic and national security that seek to enhance prosperity, safety, and sovereignty, in a period of heightened geopolitical risk both here in the region and here in the Philippines,” he said.

Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union in the Philippines

Luc Veron emphasized the importance of partnering with other nations to strengthen economic security.

“We aim to partner with others to strengthen economic security, and notably by working with reliable partners to address shared security concerns, through diversified and improved trade agreements, strengthening international rules and institutions, and investing in sustainable development,” Veron said.

He explained that the European Union cannot achieve economic security on its own.

“And we don’t believe either that our policy response can be unilateral. The global economy remains integrated, interconnected, and effective for the protection of the European Union depends on cooperation and coordination with others. So, we remain strong supporters of (an) open, rule-based world economic order, and of multilateralism,” Veron said.

In his speech, Stratbase ADR Institute President Dindo Manhit emphasized the importance of strategic cooperation to ensure a secure and robust economic architecture in the Philippines and in the Indo-Pacific.

“Elevating the role of the private sector is crucial for maximizing regional economic opportunities through strengthened partnerships with allies like the United States, Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the European Union. Indeed, on top of adopting a whole-of-Philippine society approach, it is imperative for the country to fortify its ties with its most beneficial economic partners,” Manhit explained.

“The Philippines shares the vision of collaborating with these allies and strategic partners to achieve not just peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific, but also inclusive economic growth by strengthening its role in the global supply chain, attracting foreign investors, and promoting environmental sustainability, among others,” he added.

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