Seventy years of diplomatic relations between Australia and the Philippines have deepened the ties between the two democracies.
The Philippines and Australia are celebrating the 70th year of very strong and positive relations this year. Currently, Australia and the Philippines enjoy a mature relationship–a partnership founded on reciprocity and a mutual desire for learning and cooperation. It is a relationship that encompasses an ever growing people-to-people linkages; development assistance toward sustainable growth; trade and investment to expand economic ties; and law enforcement cooperation.
The Philippines is one of Australia’s longest-standing bilateral relationships. Australia is home to over 250,000 people of Filipino heritage, with over 10,000 Filipino students enrolled in Australian universities and vocational institutions.
There are more than 200 Australian firms operating in the Philippines, including some of Australia’s largest corporations. These firms employ an estimated 30,000 Filipinos and benefit from their strong education and excellent English language skills.
The Australian business community in the Philippines comes in all shapes and sizes, with a third employing more than 200 employees and 17 percent turning over more than 500 million AUD, and 28 percent over less than 1 million AUD.
The range of industries represented includes architecture, engineering, business process outsourcing operations, telecommunications, banking, technical and vocational training and mining.
Businesses in the Philippines most commonly identified themselves as ‘Other Services’, with Professional Services, and Energy/ Resources as the next most common.
On the other hand, two-thirds of Australian firms in the Philippines have been operating in the country for more than 10 years, while 11 percent had commenced operations in the past two years.
Lastly, Philippines’s trade with Australia has increased significantly over recent years, with Australia ranking as 12 among the countries that imported the most Filipino shipments in 2014.
According to the Australian Embassy in the Philippines, Australia’s trade relationship with the Philippines is supported by the ASEAN Australia New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA). Total trade between the Philippines and Australia was valued at $4.1 billion in 2014, 65 per cent higher than in 2010, when AANZFTA entered into force.
ANZCHAM supports Duterte administration
Meanwhile, during the Gala Dinner in celebration of the 70th anniversary of Philippines-Australia diplomatic relations and the 35th anniversary of the Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce Philippines (ANZCHAM), the foreign chamber’s president expressed his confidence on the capability of the Duterte administration to implement programs that would pave way to domestic growth.
ANZCHAM’s Tom Grealy said he doesn’t mind the political noise criticizing the Duterte administration and instead counts on on the country’s economy performance.
Grealy acknowledged the Philippine economy as one of the fastest growing in the Asia-Pacific region, and similar to Australia, has enjoyed consistent growth since the 1990s. In particular, the Philippines has enjoyed the fastest five-year average growth rate since the 1970s.
He also noted debt rater Moody’s Investors Service’s positive evaluation on the current administration’s 10-point economic agenda, which he said the chamber supports.
“As the president of the country, your country, he (President Duterte) can do what he wants but we’d love to see him put those efforts on those 10-point agenda. And to open up the economy and to drive jobs,” he said.
The Duterte administration’s 10-point program is an enhancement of the previous administration’s economic plans aimed at sustaining the above-six-percent growth trend in the Philippines economy.
Grealy said that since domestic fundamentals remain strong, the burden is now on the government to implement its economic program and whether government agencies have improved on their absorptive capacity.
“I’m very optimistic about the Philippines. I’m very optimistic about opportunities on business,” Grealy said.
Photo source: ANZCHAM website