MANILA, Philippines – The British government is looking at increasing investments in the infrastructure, energy and retail sectors in the Philippines as part of strengthening the economic ties of both countries.
“Infrastructure, energy and retail, these are the areas the United Kingdom is interested to invest in (here),”newly appointed UK Trade and Investment director for Manila Iain Mansfield told reporters yesterday.
He said British firms are interested in infrastructure projects under the public private partnership since they have expertise in building rails as well as airports.
Some British companies, he noted, are part of the consortia which have expressed interest in the proposed P17.5 billion Mactan Cebu International Airport passenger terminal project.
The UK, he also said, sees opportunities in the area of infrastructure in the country since the Philippine government is moving to hike its investments to address the lack of infrastructure here.
Apart from infrastructure, he said British firms are interested in wind, hydro as well as energy efficiency projects since they have been involved in similar projects in the past.
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The UK is also interested in bringing more retail brands here given the big market.
Among the British retail brands active in successful franchising here are Debenhams, Marks & Spencer, Topshop and Burberry.
Mansfield said as part of efforts to encourage British firms to invest in the Philippines, the UK government is planning a trade mission in September to present available opportunities here, particularly in the energy sector.
“We are planning a major prosperity event to show British brands, fashion and automobile within the next six months,” he added.
Apart from encouraging more British companies to invest here, he said they would also like Philippine firms to do business in the UK.
“We are the biggest investor from Europe to the Philippines but there is not much coming from here,” he said.
He noted that construction is among the areas where Philippine firms could invest in the UK given the need for more houses there.
As Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo is set to visit the UK for a business mission in October, the British government would like conglomerates here to participate so they could check out investment opportunities there.
“We are hoping they can join Secretary Domingo’s delegation,” Mansfield said.
The UK is the highest European and fourth highest overall source of foreign direct investments in the Philippines.
In terms of trade, exports of goods to the Philippines from the UK in 2012 amounted to 332 million euros, up by 17 percent from the previous year.
Two way trade of goods between the UK and the Philippines as of 2011 was at around 1 billion euros.