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PH-UK eyes cooperation in aerospace, auto, electronics, pharma

The Philippines and United Kingdom are looking at possible cooperation for investments in key sectors — aerospace, automotive, electronics, and pharmaceuticals – to link both countries’ value chains.

This was discussed during the virtual convening Wednesday of the 2nd United Kingdom – Philippines Economic Dialogue led by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo and Her Majesty’s Ambassador Daniel Pruce.

In a joint statement, both parties said that discussions focused on strengthening bilateral trade flows through the Philippines’ preferential access to the UK market under the latter’s GSP Enhanced Framework.

“Investments in key sectors such as aerospace, automotive, electronics, and pharmaceuticals were also encouraged, as possible cooperation on these areas are seen to link Philippines and British value chains,” the statement added.

For his part, Rodolfo noted that the Philippines is a key economic partner and ally of UK in ASEAN.

“Engaging UK bilaterally is strategically important at this crucial time as they implement their independent trade regime and as we ramp up international cooperation towards recovery from the effects of the pandemic. This dialogue is the perfect avenue for us to lay the building blocks for a stronger and closer economic relationship in the future,” said Rodolfo.

In 2019, UK is the Philippines’ 18th largest trading partner (out of 226), 18th export market (out of 220), 21st import source (out of 194), and 15th largest source of approved investments. Total trade with the UK amounted to about $1.3 billion. UK is likewise the largest trading partner of the Philippines in Europe outside of the EU.

Ambassador Pruce for his part noted the great achievements on policy, stakeholder engagement, and program outcomes across the development portfolio of the UK in the Philippines.

This year, amid challenges brought by the global pandemic, the ambassador said, “UK-Philippine ties continue to bring us closer towards an inclusive, green and sustainable economic recovery. We move a step closer to 75 years of UK-Philippine friendship, and we look forward to an even stronger

collaboration between our nations working together to shape the UK‘s dynamic partnership with ASEAN and the wider region.”

The dialogue was the first bilateral dialogue of the Philippines outside ASEAN since the onset of the Covid-19 health emergency. Against challenges posed by the current pandemic, the United Kingdom and the Philippines commit “to support the global health response and efforts towards an inclusive, green and sustainable economic recovery.”

In addition, both countries reaffirm their commitment to boost bilateral trade and investment; encourage increased investments in key sectors such as aerospace, electronics, automotive and pharmaceuticals; pursue innovation and industrial collaboration; foster MSME development; enable key reforms and deepen program partnerships, including through the UK Prosperity Fund in areas like health, education, low carbon energy, infrastructure, finance, business environment, intellectual property, and digital economy.

DTI Undersecretary for Competitiveness and Innovation, Dr. Rafaelita Aldaba expressed, “The DTI is very keen to pursue innovation and industrial development cooperation with the UK. We have innovative British companies operating in the Philippines and this cooperation will help complement their operations here by linking them with our innovative MSMEs and big businesses. Both the Philippines and UK also have vibrant startup ecosystems. These digital startups could surely help each other grow through collaboration.”

Both sides also welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Intellectual Property of the Philippines (IPOPHL) and the British Embassy. The MOU, which aims to further boost the Philippines’ IP regime, was signed last 06 August 2020 and countersigned during the Dialogue.

Undersecretary Rodolfo highlighted, “The Philippines has been leveraging its strong IP regime to attract investments in strategic industries. However, this MOU is not just for big businesses, but also for MSMEs. IP is becoming an even more important tool for our MSMEs to grow and be more competitive in the digital space.”

The 2nd Economic Dialogue marked a step towards 75 years of formal ties between the UK and the Philippines. The inaugural Economic Dialogue was held on March 2019.

Source: Manila Bulletin (

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