Jakarta, Indonesia, November 27, 2014 – As the Philippines and Indonesia are celebrating their 65th year anniversary of diplomatic relations this week, the two countries sought for greater cooperation at a recently concluded investment conference.

“Our trade and business relations have flourished over the years. But clearly the Philippines can further tap into the Indonesian market to move our export value at par with the level of Philippine importations from Indonesia. The Philippines and Indonesia can also further look into improving industrial and business linkages,” Atty. Arnel Paciano Casanova, President and CEO of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority said at the Investment Conference 2014 held at the Kempinski Hotel.

invconfIn photo: Atty. Arnel Paciano Casanova, President and CEO of Bases Conversion and Development Authority, speaking before participants of the recently held Investment Conference 2014 organized on the occasion of the 65th Anniversary of Philippines-Indonesia Bilateral Relations.

He cited opportunities in agriculture products, franchising as well as in infrastructres development and real estate, particularly projects being undertaken by the Bases Conversion Deveopment Authority such as the Clark Green City, a $14.00 Billion project development envisioned to become the Philippines’ most modern and the first technologically-integrated city with a mix of residential, commercial, agro-industrial, institutional and information technology developments.

Casanova also noted that there is a lot of unrealized potential in the area of tourism as it is estimated that only a little more than 45 thousand Indonesians visited the Philippines in 2013 while there were more than 129 thousand Filipinos that visited Indonesia on the same year.

Philippines and Indonesia, new tigers

Casanova also emphasized that the Philippines and Indonesia are now called “new tigers” - rising, new dynamic economies projected to grow rapidly in the years ahead.

He underlined sound fundamentals such as rising incomes, young and dynamic population, expanding middle class, stable governments and resilient banking industries that have led to positive developments in both countries.

“Both our countries are also being recognized as part of this grouping called TIMP, which is a new “hot group” of high flying emerging economies - composed of Turkey, Indonesia, Mexico and the Philippines and projections for future growth are encouraging, with the IMF expecting real GDP growth for both our countries to average 5% in the next couple our years, “ he added.

Opportunities for Partnerships</>

Distinguished panelists during the conference also discussed opportunities for partnerships.

BKPM Deputy Director for investment promotion, Mr. Nurul Ichwan, cited areas for investments such as geothermal and electricity as having the most potential since almost one third of Indonesia’s population do not have electricity. He also stressed the need for further discussions to identify specific and concrete projects for cooperation between the Philippines and Indonesia.

Manila Waters, Inc., Country Head for Indonesia and Myanmar, Mr. Pieter Tobing, shared the success story of Manila Waters in the Philippines where it was able to improve the quality, reliability and efficiency in bringing water services to millions of households in Manila. Mr. Tobing said that they aim to bring their successful business model for water and waste-water services in Manila to Indonesia and other Asean regions.

invconf2In photo: Panelists at the Investment Conference celebrating the 65th year of Philippines- Indonesia Relations discuss opportunities for partnerships

Global food player PT Mayora Indah Tbk representative Ir. Maspiyono also shared his company’s experiences in the Philippines where it was able to transform the landscape of coffee business in the Philippines and challenged the more established players in the country.

“Our key strategies are to make sure that we have a good product that is suited to the Filipino taste, a competitive price, and effective distribution through our local partners. We recruit only the best local people with proven track record”, Mayora Regional Director for Asean Ir. Maspiyono said.

Ir. Maspiyono also underscored that although the focus of Mayora’s current operations in the Philippines are mainly in distribution and not manufacturing, their entire business in the Philippines generates about 2,000 jobs.

“Mayora plans to grow 10 times in three years with Asean, China and India as our top three priorities. In Asean, the Philippines is our number one priority outside of Indonesia. We have plans to manufacture in the Philippines but we are still studying the market well on what products would be more suitable. For instance, the biscuit market in the Philippines is even bigger than coffee, so we are making further evaluation on the best products that may be considered for production,” he explained.

In the end, Ir Maspiyono said that he can attest to the saying that it is indeed “more fun doing business in the Philippines.”

invconf3In Photo: L-R: Ir. Maspiyono, Regional Head for Asean, Mayora Tbk; Mr. Nurul Ichwan, Deputy Director for Investment Promotion, BKPM; Mr. Reynaldo Espineli, Managing Director, Samuel International; Atty. Arnel Paciano Casanova, President and CEO, Bases Conversion Development Authority; H.E. Roberto Manalo, Charge d’ Affaires, Philippines Embassy; Mr. Pieter Tobing, Country Head for Indonesia and Myanmar, Manila Waters, Inc; Mr. Mark Castro, Consultant for Brainworks; Ms. Alma Argayoso, Commercial Counselor, Philippines Embassy.

The Embassy of the Philippines and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center organized the Investment Conference to mark the 65th year anniversary of bilateral relations between the two countries.