June 17, 2024

The Philippines is hoping to bag more investment pledges in the anticipated meeting between Filipino and European businessmen during President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s trip to Brussels next week.
Marcos will be in Belgium from Dec. 12 to 14 to attend the Association of Southeast Asian (ASEAN)-European Union (EU) Summit.
In a pre-departure briefing on Dec. 9, Foreign Affairs Asec. Daniel Espiritu said Marcos would hold a business roundtable and “one-on-one meetings” with European corporations, including those planning to expand their presence in the Philippines.
Among the companies are Unilever, which intends to invest P4.7 billion and establish a new state-of-the-art manufacturing facility, and OCEA Shipbuilding, which looks to build a P1.5B shipyard in the Philippines.
Marcos will also meet with representatives of infrastructure and renewable energy company ACCIONA and logistics hub management firm Simaris.
“These are only among the few companies that the president will meet, which we believe will expand investments in the Philippines and therefore generate more jobs,” Espiritu said.
Meanwhile, business meetings among EU and ASEAN member-states themselves are slated to be held on Dec. 13.
As country coordinator for the ASEAN-EU dialogue, the Philippines was instrumental in the summit preparation.
During the summit, Marcos will carry the country’s priorities and concerns, which include post-pandemic recovery, addressing disruption in the supply chain, maritime security, digital transformation, and climate action.
“This will be a very busy trip for the president and we hope that this will redound to a lot of benefits for the Filipinos not only for ASEAN,” Espiritu said.
On the sidelines, Marcos will hold bilateral meetings with leaders from the Czech Republic, Belgium, Estonia, Spain, Denmark, Germany, Poland, Finland, the Netherlands, and the EU.
Among the topics to be covered are cybersecurity, agriculture, defense, and shipbuilding cooperation.
With the EU, discussions would include ways forward for the pending Philippine-EU free trade agreement, as well as the potential EU ban on Filipino seafarers. – PNA