Europe-PH News

European businesses call for stronger European-Philippine economic cooperation

November 17, 2022

ECCP Online

MAKATI CITY, 14 November 2022 – High-level government officials, business leaders, industry experts, and representatives from business groups convened at the 2022 European-Philippine Business Dialogue hosted by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines together with the British Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines last 14 November.

With the theme “New Era of Progress, Possibilities, Partnerships”, this year’s forum sought to provide a platform for sharing insights and exchanging meaningful discussions on the country's economic prospects as well as ways forward to strengthen the European-Philippine economic ties.

In his opening remarks, ECCP Director and Republic Cement Managing Director Roman Menz highlighted the multitude of uncertainties faced by the country stemming from the current economic and geopolitical landscape. However, he enthused that the passing of several game-changing economic reforms namely the amendments to the Public Services Act, Retail Trade Liberalization Act and Foreign Investment Act will further boost foreign direct investments and generate more jobs for Filipinos.

“The time is now to build on this positive momentum and maximize the opportunities on the horizon. As ever, the European-Philippine business community remains steadfast in working with all relevant stakeholders to address current challenges,” said Menz. European Union Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Veron also remained optimistic, saying these “reforms open key economic sectors to foreign investment, modernize customs and could have the potential to improve the ease of doing business. These will accelerate know-how transfer and have the capacity to create new and better jobs and support the growth of a sustainable more inclusive economy. They will make the Philippines more competitive in the region."

Ambassador Veron added, “The EU trade policy is operating in a particularly challenging international environment, affected by the rise of geostrategic rivalries and increasing resort to unilateral measures and economic nationalism. In this context, Europe needs its partners and these partners need Europe.” 

Furthermore, following the Senate's recent meetings with some European leaders, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri underscored the plethora of possibilities for bilateral cooperation with a lot of sectors within the European Union. These include trade and manufacturing, foreign investments, tourism, post-Covid recovery, nuclear energy, climate change mitigation and defense.

Mr. Vichael Angelo Roaring, Officer in Charge of the Coordinating Office of the Department of Trade and Industry's Foreign Trade Service Corps (FTSC), also highlighted that “the Philippine government is focused on the full reopening of the economy while ensuring health security, food security, energy security, as well as reducing costs and stabilizing prices. For the Department of Trade and Industry, this means empowering our industries in pursuit of the country’s overall goal of inclusive and sustainable growth.” 

During the plenary session, the ECCP released its newest set of Advocacy Papers. The annual publication of the Chamber aims to provide an overview of industry perspectives on pressing issues, concerns, as well as our corresponding policy recommendations. “We hope to turn these wishlists into reality. It is meaningful and lasting change that we hope to achieve through these recommendations, by working closely with our partners here today towards achieving a competitive, fair and more inclusive economic environment in the Philippines,” said Florian Gottein, ECCP Executive Director. 

Moreover, during the panel discussion, Mr. Hans Sicat, country head of ING in the Philippines, expressed optimism about the growth prospects of various sectors like renewable energy, technology, media & telecommunications, infrastructure, and financial institutions.

Emphasizing the importance and urgency for all stakeholders to step up and help address the climate change crisis, Mr. Sicat added, “Across the world, we have been working together with our clients on their ESG goals. We have closed several first-of-their-kind deals and many of our green financing deals were the first done by our clients. In the Philippines, we are proud to advise our clients on their sustainable finance framework and provide financing for sustainable projects that would support their transition to a sustainable and low-carbon economy.”

In addition, Mr. Sandeep Uppal, President and CEO, HSBC Philippines also shared the pivotal role of banks in supporting people and businesses as they adapt to the changing world. 

“In the Philippines where HSBC has a 147-year history – making it one of the most established international banks – we are committed to mobilizing sustainable financing for clients in all sectors to support them progressively decarbonize and unlocking innovative climate solutions,” said Mr. Uppal.

Attended by close to two hundred delegates physically and online, the forum featured messages and presentations from speakers including H.E. Luc Véron, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary at Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines; Hon. Juan Miguel Zubiri, Senate President; Hon. Benjamin Diokno, Ph.D., Secretary at Department of Finance; Hon. Stella Luz Quimbo, District Representative at the House of Representatives; Hon. Vivian Santos, Officer-in-charge, Deputy Director General of Philippine Economic Zone Authority; Hans Sicat, Country Manager at ING Philippines; Sandeep Uppal, President and Chief Executive Officer at HSBC Philippines; and Nicholas Mapa, Senior Economist at ING Philippines. 

Christina Stieber, Commercial Counsellor at the Austrian Embassy in Manila and Head at Advantage Austria served as the Master of Ceremonies with Business News Editor and One News Anchor Regina Lay as moderator during the live panel discussion and open forum.

The 2022 European-Philippine Business Dialogue is co-presented by HSBC Philippines,  ING Philippines, and PMFTC Inc. The event is also supported by Platinum Partners Diageo Philippines, Inc., Charmant Ingredients Corporation, and Royal Cargo Inc; Gold Partners Asticom Technology Incorporated, Mazars in the Philippines, Pru Life UK, and Shell Philippines; Silver Partners Allianz PNB Life, DamosaLand, Maybank, and William Hill International; and Event Patron Bosch Philippines.

This year’s official media partners are One News, The Philippine Business and News, and The Manila Times, with official event supporters namely Advantage Austria, French Chamber of Commerce and Industry in the Philippines, Dutch Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines Inc. - DCCP, German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc., Spanish Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines - La Camara, Nordic Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, and Swiss Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines.

Launched in 2014, this Forum brings together industry experts, government leaders, and relevant stakeholders to celebrate and strengthen the European-Philippine economic ties. 

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