Spain renews relationship with Philippines, investment plans Underway
Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Co-operation Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo Y Marfil has just led the signing of a new pact between Spain’s private sector and its counterpart in the Philippines to explore investment opportunities in the country.
The trade and investment promotions agreement was signed by High Council of Chambers, Industry and Navigation of Spain; Confederation of Employers and Industries of Spain and the Makati Business Club. The agreement allows businesses from the two countries to ‘work together on a long-term basis.’
The minister brought with him a 50-member delegation representing Spain’s top 12-15 companies, and he said they are interested in participating in the Philippines’ infrastructure projects. Spain is a world leader in constructing transport infrastructure, noted the minister. He added that 37% of the world’s transport infrastructure had been built by Spanish companies.
The Aquino government has earlier emphasised the importance of infrastructure investment in improving the country’s competitiveness. Last year, the Department of Public Works and Highways announced plans to open infrastructure project bidding to foreign contractors by 2015.
Another sector that Spain is interested in is public-private partnership projects. But Socio-Economic Panning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan recommended the delegation to also look into other sectors like industrial mining, agri-business and tourism. Spain currently has several tourism investments in Vietnam.
Makati Business Club Executive Director Angelo Perfecto said Spain renewed its business interests in the country because ‘they believe it is quite easy to do business with Filipinos.’ In addition, Minister Garcia-Margallo said that if trade relations with the Philippines become successful, then they will make the country their hub in the Asean region.
The trade delegation is set to meet with Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo and Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson. A very optimistic Garcia-Margallo added ‘I hope we can start very soon.’