As part of the efforts to raise the profile of the Philippines as a viable investment destination and as a competitive source of world-class products, the Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Philippine Embassy in London in cooperation with the Philippine-British Business Council (PBBC) organized a high-level trade and investment mission to London, United Kingdom. This two-day mission held last 2-3 October 2013 was led by DTI Secretary Gregory L. Domingo, together with Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Cesar V. Purisima and other senior government officials including DTI Undersecretary Ponciano C. Manalo, Jr., Ms. Cosette V. Canilao, the Executive Director of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Center and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ Deputy Governor, Mr. Diwa C. Guinigundo. Private sector representatives led by former Ambassador Jesus P. Tambunting of PBBC and some of the members of the Makati Business Club (MBC) and the British Chamber of Commerce Philippines (BCCP) were also invited to complete the delegation.
One of the key activities included in the high-level mission was the Invest Philippines Conference held on the 2nd of October at St. Ermin’s Hotel. It was an economic briefing and a trade and investment opportunities conference, organized by PTC-London in partnership with Asia House, UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), and UK-ASEAN Business Council (UK-ABC). Through this event, the delegation was able to share the Philippines’ positive growth story to an audience composed of managing directors, company heads, decision makers and directors from various sectors and industries in the UK. The 194 participants were from premier firms under the industries such as banking and finance, automotive, food and beverage, tourism, energy, oil & gas, aerospace/aviation, IT/BPM, consulting, construction and retail among several others.
An overview of the country’s trade and investment climate plus the business opportunities available to foreign companies that are looking to invest in the Philippines were also discussed during the program. To give a balanced and well-rounded assessment, top officials of UK companies that have extensive experiences of doing business in the Philippines were included in the panel. Mr. Jose Arnulfo A. Veloso, CEO of HSBC Philippines and Mr. Edgar O. Chua, the country chairman of Shell Companies in the Philippines were among the panelists during the morning session of the event. On the other hand, Mr. Peter Chamley, chair of Global Practice Infrastructure of Arup, Mr. James Stewart, chairman of Infrastructure Practice at KPMG and Mr. Richard Weatherstone, the director of Shore Solutions Inc. were present to give their testimonials for the afternoon session.
Aside from the Invest Philippines Conference, the Philippine delegation also had the chance to meet with UK government officials, including Lord Stephen Green of UKTI and the Lord Mayor of London Roger Gifford. Their schedule also included site visits, media interviews, roundtable discussions and business meetings with potential investors.