French shipbuilder OCEA committed to invest P1.5 billion in a shipyard in the Philippines with the capacity to employ up to 600 workers.
OCEA chief executive Roland Joassard revealed the company’s plan to put up a shipyard in the country during the 9th Philippines-France Joint Economic Committee meeting on July 2.
OCEA’s business proposal was one of the highlights of the JEC meeting that also covered the agriculture, civil aviation, aeronautics and space, creative industries, electronics, energy and green technology, infrastructure and transportation, maritime and shipbuilding sectors.
Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said the JEC meeting proved the strong bilateral relationship of the Philippines and France. The meeting highlighted the rebuilding efforts of both countries as they faced global challenges caused by the pandemic.
Both countries agreed to pursue specific collaboration projects with the existing partnerships in the academe and between both countries’ electronics associations, Semiconductors and Electronics Association of the Philippines, Inc. and ACSIEL Alliance Electronique of France.
Both arranged B2B meetings and academic engagements after they signed an MOU at the sidelines of the 2019 JEC hosted by the DTI in Manila.
French Minister for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness Franck Riester, who announced a visit to the Philippines before the end of 2021, presented three letters of intent confirming financial support for upcoming projects with the Department of Transportation; financial aid in support of a training boat contract for the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy; and a possible maritime expert proposal.
Lopez also delivered a letter from the Bases Conversion Development Authority for the next-phase study of the Clark Fresh Food Hub and another letter conveying strong interest for the renewal of technical training programs from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines addressed to the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
French space agency Centre National d’Etudes Spatiale extended an invitation to the newly-created Philippine Space Agency to join the Space Climate Observatory Initiative, group of space agencies and international organizations that endeavor collectively for “accurate assessment and monitoring of the consequences of climate change from observations and numerical models.”
The Centre National du Cinema and the Film Development Council of the Philippines proposed continuing projects in film and animation that already saw Philippine-made content gain attention in top French animation trade fair events in Annecy this year through the local film council’s partnership with French creative groups.
Both countries also identified specific projects on dairy development, geographical indications and control and eradication of African Swine Fever in the agriculture sector and areas for market access as the Philippines and France prepare for a future bilateral agriculture meeting.
Energy projects were also identified by both countries as they intend to explore alternative energy cooperation ventures.
Also discussed were the benefits of Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus or GSP+ to investing entities to the Philippines and the value of a future FTA with the region, while France expounded on the French strategy towards ASEAN and the Philippines and regional trade agreements particularly the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and WTO reforms.
The JEC with France is the longest running high-level economic dialogue between the Philippines and a European country. Both countries agreed to convene the 10th Philippines-France JEC in 2022 in Paris.