The Philippines-Singapore Business Council (PSBC) recently organized a two-day Trade and Investment Mission to Singapore. The mission brought together Philippine and Singapore business leaders from the Makati Business Club, Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and more than a hundred potential investors from the Singapore business community. The Philippine business delegation was co-headed by PSBC chair Guillermo Luchangco and PSBC Vice-Chair Fernando Zobel de Ayala.

During the first day of the mission, there was a dialogue among officers and members of the PSBC on bilateral trade relations and the Council’s program of activities for 2015. To welcome the delegation, a cocktail reception hosted by Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Antonio Morales followed. Strategic business partners in Singapore were also invited, namely Keppel, Japan External Trade Organization, Credit Suisse, ANZ Bank and various Singapore-based business chambers such as the American Chamber, European Chamber, Europe-ASEAN Business Alliance, Japan Chamber and Singapore Indian Chamber.

On the second day, opportunities for Singapore companies in the Philippines, particularly in the infrastructure and transportation sectors were presented in a Business Forum by Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson, Department of Transportation and Communications Secretary Joseph Emilio Abaya and Public-Private Partnership Center Executive Director Undersecretary Cosette Canilao. The other focus areas were retail, hospitality and tourism.

From the private sector side, SGV & Co Chairman and Managing Partner Cirilo Noel provided an overview of the investment climate in the country. The forum was graced by Singapore Trade and Industry Minister Lim Hng Kiang who urged the Singapore companies to tap these opportunities in the Philippines. Business-matching and networking sessions were held afterwards.

Currently, Singapore ranks as the Philippines’ fifth largest source of approved investments, having poured in a total of approximately US$218 million, primarily in manufacturing, services, ICT and tourism facilities. Many Singapore companies are already operating in various sectors in the country such as infrastructure, telecommunications and retail.

According to International Enterprise (IE) Singapore which is the Singapore government agency promoting trade of Singapore companies externally, Singapore firms have started to explore prospects beyond the capital city of Manila into regions such as Cebu and Clark. The Philippines boasts of a large, young consumer market with an English-speaking population of close to 100 million.

The PSBC Forum was supported by IE Singapore and the Department of Trade and Industry represented by the Philippine Trade & Investment Centre (PTIC)-Singapore. PTIC-Singapore Commercial Counsellor Glenn Peñaranda said the mission has resulted in increased interest in the country. IE Singapore, SBF and PTIC –Singapore are planning missions to the Philippines throughout 2015.

LHK, Keppel, Amba, Sec Singson (from l-r) Singapore Trade Minister Lim Hng Kiang, Mr. Loh Chin Hua, CEO of Keppel Corporation and PSBC Singapore Co-Chair, Philippine Ambassador to Singapore Antonio Morales and DPWH Secretary Rogelio Singson

G Luchangco (above) Mr. Guillermo Luchangco, PSBC Philippines Co-Chair and (below) PSBC Vice-Chair Fernando Zobel de Ayala

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IE, SBF, GGp(from l-r) Ms. Huimin Liu, SEA Senior Manager, IE Singapore; Ms. Yin Yin Lam, SEA Divisional Director, IE Singapore; Ms. Alpana Roy, MTI Deputy Director; Mr. Tan Soon Kim, Assistant CEO, IE Singapore; Mr. Tai Chew Thian, Assistant Executive Director, ASEAN & South Asia, SBF; Mr. Glenn Peñaranda, Commercial Counsellor, PTIC-Singapore; Mr. Alan Tan, Director, ASEAN & South Asia, SBF