Cebu Daily News | 07/27/2010
Free trade pact attracts Aussie investors to RP
By Aileen Garcia-Yap
The Australia-New Zealand-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (ANZAFTA) has made the Philippines an attractive market for Australian traders especially those in the dairy business.
The agreement has significantly reduced trading barriers like tariff rates in the Philippines making it attractive for Australian traders to also see the Philippines as a good market especially for their dairy products, said Ross Bray, senior trade and investment commissioner for Philippines and Micronesia in a recent interview.
“Some 96.4 percent of all products from the Philippines exported to Australia now have zero tariffs while the Philippines is slowly opening up some products like vegetables, manufactured goods, rice and sugar,” said Bray of the ANZAFTA, which had improved the trade relationship between the Australia and Philippines.
He said most imports from Australia are wheat, live dairy animals like cattle and goats, medical and cosmetics, services and energy products.
“We hope to work more with the Philippines especially in promoting green products like investments in renewable energy which we already have in Australia as well as investments in mining which we can also teach responsible mining as practiced in Australia,” Bray said.
Aside from these, Bray said that more Australian investors are also keen on the country’s building and construction supply industry, banking, and the outsourcing services.
The ANZAFTA took effect on Jan. 1.
In another development, the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) will forge a sister-chamber agreement with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Australia Philippines Inc. (CCIAP) tomorrow at the Cebu City Sports Club.
“We are honored and pleased to form another foreign sister-chamber agreement especially with CCIAP since they are the first local Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Australia whose charter focused on bilateral trade between Australia and the Philippines,” said CCCI president Samuel Chioson said.
The CCCI will tour delegates of the CCIAP Philippines Business and Trade Mission 2010 leg in Cebu today to the different CCCI member companies which include Profood International Inc. and Coast Pacific Manufacturing Corp.
The CCIAP delegation will also meet with some government officials and other CCCI member companies tomorrow on a luncheon meeting, press conference and business matching.
“They will probably meet key business leaders on four industries: mining, agribusiness, tourism and education, all members of Cebu Chamber,” Chioson said.
The trade mission, led by CCIAP President Connie de Cunha, started in Manila on July 17 with a round of meetings with key industry leaders, business traders and high level government officials in Manila, Makati and Quezon City.
Aside from business activities, the delegates will also undertake cultural tours, city sight tours and business tours in Cebu, which will help provide members of both chambers to build sustainable competitive advantages through expanded contacts and network as well as an increased understanding of the Philippine market and culture by CCIAP members.