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More Aussie firms interested in Philippines

Louella Desiderio – The Philippine Star
May 23, 2022 | 12:00am


More Australian firms are becoming interested in investing in the Philippines given the country’s economic outlook and recent reforms easing restrictions on foreign investments.

“If you look at what’s happened for us in the last 12 months, we’ve had more Australian companies seeking to invest in the Philippines than we have for some considerable time,” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson said in an interview on the sidelines of the Experience Australia event held to mark the Philippines-Australia Friendship Day.

He said Australian businesses are interested in various areas such as agrifood, digitalization, renewable energy, as well as mining.

This growing interest from Australian firms is driven by expectations the country would continue to post a growth rate of over six percent into the future.

Robinson said reforms that seek to open up the Philippines to more foreign investments are also seen as reasons for the increased interest from Australian firms to invest in the country.

Among the recently approved laws that aim to attract more foreign investors to come to the country are the amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, Public Service Act and Foreign Investments Act.

“You’ve got a whole range of reforms that are just taking place that are very significant and I think that paves the way for lots of companies to come here from Australia,” Robinson said.

He said there are already more than 300 Australian companies doing business in the Philippines.

Apart from seeing more investments from Australia, he is also optimistic of the continued growth of Australian agrifood exports to the country.

The value of Australia’s agrifood exports to the Philippines grew by 90.16 percent from 2020 to 2021.

Categories that posted the highest increase are wheat, beef, barley and cheese.

Grapes and citrus, which are among the top horticulture exports to the Philippines, also continue to do well.

Robinson said they want to get more Australian food firms to come to the Philippines on a long term basis.

“If we can get agrifood to lift, I think that’s going to be important. There’s a real need for it here in the Philippines, to have Australian produce coming in. So I am very very hopeful that the future looks really bright,” he said.

The latest Australian company to make its food products available in the country is supermarket chain Coles.

Coles products including cookies, chocolate bars, milk, honey, coffee, tea, cereals, baking needs, condiments, instant soup, and soup stocks are now available on the shelves of select SM Supermarket, SM Hypermarket and Savemore stores.

The Experience Australia event was held to provide an opportunity for Filipinos to experience Australia through a food, retail, study and travel festival.