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Philippines now on UK's list of priority markets
Publication Date : 19-06-2014
The United Kingdom has placed the Philippines on its list of “priority” markets for trading and investments, as it sees the country as a strategic gateway for British companies hoping to gain entry or expand operations in Southeast Asia.
UK trade envoy to the Philippines George Freeman MP said in a briefing on Wednesday that, due to the country’s strong economic growth, good governance and skilled English-speaking labour force, the Philippines could serve as a “natural launchpad” where British companies could set up their regional headquarters.
The Philippines is “a major trading partner,” Freeman said. “We want to bring more companies to the Philippine economy as it develops.”
The UK move to further diversify its markets outside of Europe was due to the slow growth and the banking crisis on the continent, he said. The UK will continue its trade with Europe, but the emerging countries—one of which is the Philippines—present huge opportunities in the fields of agriculture, energy, medicine, professional services and luxury goods.
On his first visit to the Philippines, Freeman was accompanied by five British energy companies seeking investment opportunities and partnerships with local players.
Proof of the UK’s strong confidence in the local economy is the establishment of a new British Business Centre, which will be managed by the British Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines.
The facility in particular will help small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK to expand their operations in emerging countries like the Philippines.
Big British corporations may establish their positions in the Philippines more quickly than SMEs, which make up 90 per cent of registered businesses in the UK, Freeman said.
There are more than 200 British firms operating in the country. Lord Stephen Green of Hurstpierpoint, former UK Minister of State for Trade and Investment, earlier said that they would double trade and investment links between the UK and the Philippines in five years’ time.