“Philippines and UK can be powerful partners for prosperity”
Makati Business Club 11 December 2012 – “It is clear that future prosperity (in the Philippines) will be based on partnerships,” said Hugo Swire, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom. Addressing members of the Makati Business Club, Management Association of the Philippines, British Chamber of Commerce, and the Philippine-British Business Council. Swire also said that these days are exciting times for the continued partnership of the Philippines and the UK and that both nations are taking steps to further cement diplomatic and economic ties.
Earlier in the day, Mr. Swire had a dialogue with President Benigno Aquino III to tackle areas of cooperation. He also reported that a joint plan of action had been signed with Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario, as well as a new air services agreement with Transportation and Communications Secretary Emilio Abaya, which he hopes would further expand trade and tourism.
In his keynote, Mr. Swire emphasized that the United Kingdom stands as one of the Philippines’ key partners in the goal of mutual prosperity. He said that British ICT specialists have been assisting in the expansion of the Philippine Stock Exchange’s fiber optic network, experts have been sharing their experience in Public-Private Partnerships, and that the UK has played a key role in the crafting of the Bangsamoro Framework Agreement as part of the International Contact Group.
Recognizing the limitations of governments and the crucial role of the private sector in globalized trade, Swire said that “international trade and investment is not just the best route to development; history tells us it is the only one.” Thus, in working towards mutual prosperity he invited the local business community to explore partnerships with British companies, highlighting the United Kingdom’s competitive advantage of a strong legal system.
“We as governments can only do so much. Ultimately, it is business that will drive growth,” he said.
Editor’s note: The Makati Business Club is the foremost Club of senior business executives in the Philippines. The Makati Business Club supports the growth of the Philippines economy and transparency within all aspects of government. The Makati Business Club meets regularly in Manila and holds events of particular interest to the Philippines and international business community.
Report by the Makati Business Club.