Aquino, EU firms meet for business opportunities in PH
MANILA, Philippines – President Benigno Aquino III met on Tuesday, December 1 with officials of several European companies looking to start operations or expand their presence in the Philippines.
Aquino is in Europe along with members of his Cabinet for a trip covering France, Italy, and Vatican City.
In France, Aquino attended the ongoing climate summit, COP21, or the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 21st Conference of Parties. (READ: What's happening in Paris in December? 10 things to know)
Airbus: Enhanced cooperation
The President met with officials of Airbus, the world’s leading manufacturer of commercial jetliners and military airlifters, to discuss enhanced cooperation.
Components for the Airbus A350 such as actuators, galleys, and toilets are sourced from the Philippines, said Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr, who joined Aquino during the meeting.
Sanofi: Dengue vaccine
Aquino also had a business meeting with officials of Sanofi Pasteur for the introduction of a dengue vaccine in the Philippines, as the French pharmaceutical company moves toward completing the clinical trials for the vaccine. (READ: Soon: Vaccine from France to help fight dengue in PH)
Sanofi launched 25 clinical studies (20 completed, 5 ongoing) involving over 40,000 subjects. These are being conducted in 15 dengue-endemic and non-endemic countries, including the Philippines. Here, all 3 research phases were conducted.
For the possible introduction of the dengue vaccine in the Philippines, the Department of Health is formulating policies and guidelines in cooperation with the private sector. Vaccine registration by the Philippine Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is underway and is expected to be completed soon.
Irish investment, Swedish contribution
The President also met with officials of CRH, the first and biggest Irish investor in the Philippines. CRH presented its cement manufacturing operations and expansion plans in the country, including sustainability programs and activities.
Aquino also spoke with officials of Jacobi Carbons Group AB, a Swedish company that recently founded an activated carbon manufacturing facility in the Philippines.
Jacobi contributes to countryside development, especially in Mindanao, where it sources raw materials for its production from local coconut farmers.
Apart from the various business meetings, Aquino also toured Usine IO, a membership-based workshop in Paris dedicated to hardware technologies and startup assistance.
Usine IO was founded by Benjamin Carlu, Gary Cige, and Agathe Fourquet and was inaugurated in October 2014. Aquino visited its 1,500-square-meter facility in Paris which serves as an innovation and hardware prototyping platform or launchpad for hardware products like furniture, healthcare, and robotics.
Although not a factory for mass production, Usine IO helps its members in conceptualizing and executing product prototyping and modeling, as well as adopting new ideas. The output will then be transmitted to manufacturers such as sheet-metal factories, electronic assemblers.
The French facility has a strategic value for the Philippines because it can share its best practices, especially in delivering government services to micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).
Usine's consultancy services and marketing assistance can also serve as model for the Philippines in improving the services being offered to MSMEs through the trade department’s Shared Service Facilities (SSFs) and the Manufacturing Resurgence Program.
With a membership fee of EU€180 ($201) per month, its 300 members include inventors, entrepreneurs, start-ups, companies, and research institutes. These members are given access to tools and equipment like 3D printers, cutting machines, and computer-aided design.
They can also avail of Usine's technical services such as trainings, engineers’ expertise, and co-working spaces.
The Aquino administration keeps harping that from $1 billion, foreign direct investments ballooned to about $6 billion, a 600% growth achieved during his term.
“There are so many opportunities in this country. We have so many potentials that have yet to be tapped in so many different sectors,” the President said during the Philippine hosting of the 15th Forbes Annual CEO Conference in October.
In that same gathering, he also told global CEOs that investors should not overlook the fact that the Philippines remains an ideal place to grow business. (READ: PH drops to No. 103 in World Bank Doing Business report) – Rappler.com
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