By Bernie cahiles-Magkilat
The Philippines and United Kingdom (UK) have signed a Joint Action Plan on economic cooperation as Britain prepares for its eventual exit from EU, a political and economic union of 28 European states.
The signing of the Statement of Partnership and Joint Action Plan on economic cooperation, trade and investment capped the 1st Philippines – United Kingdom Economic Dialogue held Thursday. The dialogue was led by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo and British Ambassador Daniel Pruce.
The dialogue marks a milestone in bilateral economic relations as both sides committed to work towards wider and deeper engagement.
Under the agreement, both sides agreed on some priority sectors for deeper economic cooperation between the two sides such as on trade and investment promotion, industry collaboration, MSME development, innovation, ease of doing business reforms, transparency and anti-corruption initiatives, competition policy, ICT, transport, sustainable infrastructure, banking, fintech, green finance, capital market development, health, education and skills development.
With the successful convening of the inaugural dialogue, the Philippines and UK look forward to increased two-way trade and investments as well as sustained collaboration in concrete and mutually beneficial economic cooperation initiatives.
Net foreign direct investments from the UK based on BSP data was recorded at $36.37 million in the first half of 2018, representing a 624 percent increase from the $5.02 million during the same period in the previous year.
Total bilateral trade between the Philippines and the UK was $987.4 million in 2017. Philippine exports to the UK amounted to $480.6 million while imports from that country reached $506.8 million in 2017.
In 2017, the UK was the 8th largest source of foreign tourist arrivals in the Philippines with over 180,000 British nationals visiting the country.
Topics important to the economic agenda of the Philippines and the United Kingdom (UK) were also discussed including increased trade and investment promotion, economic reforms, MSME development, sustainable and inclusive infrastructure, digital economy, banking and financial services, and social development in education and health.
Current and future economic cooperation initiatives across a broad range of sectors under the United Kingdom’s development programs such as the Prosperity Fund were likewise highlighted.