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Bilateral links grow stronger

Article - June 4, 2012
Over the past decade the UK has been the largest foreign investor in the Philippines
Keener British interest in Philippine economic and political developments has been reflected by a sharp rise in development assistance, the frequency of high-level visits between London and Manila, and a significant increase in the volume of trade and investments.

Net investments from the UK amounted to $27.7 million (£17.5 million) in the first six months of 2011, beating the $25.6 million total for the entire previous year. Also in 2010, the Philippines’ total trade in goods with the UK was valued at $698.2 million, and the latest figures for January to June 2011 show a similar trend. The value of goods imported from the UK in 2011 reached $60.1 billion, which represents a 9.5 per cent increase on 2010.

“We are greatly encouraged by the renewed interest of the UK in Asia,” says Enrique A Manalo, the Philippine Ambassador to the UK. “The Philippines has been described by the British Government as an ‘emerging power’, which we feel is a reflection of the country’s excellent economic fundamentals, its political values, the competence of its people, and the constructive role it has played in the region and the world. Indeed, through the dark clouds of the world economy, the Philippine BPO stood fast as a ‘Sunshine Industry’, flourishing in a bright cycle of growth, development and renewal,” says the Ambassador. “Last year it overtook India as the world leader in call centre services revenue and employment.”

Tourism is another promising area. In 2011, international visitor arrivals to the Philippines hit a new record of 3.9 million, a rise of 11.2 per cent on 2010. In addition, for the first time in history, tourism arrivals from the UK topped 100,000, coming in at 104,466 for 2011, 7.78 per cent more than in 2010.

“We also have significant Philippine investments in the UK, led by our major financial institutions. As our economy grows, it is possible to envision more Filipino companies investing in the UK as a foothold to the broader European market,” says Mr Manalo.

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