Australian Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb visited the Philippines recently leading a business delegation focussed on infrastructure before joining counterparts in Boracay for APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) talks.
The business delegates included some of Australia’s leading infrastructure specialists representing construction and design, legal and engineering companies. “The size of the infrastructure task here is substantial compounded by the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, but the response of the Philippine government has been impressive,” Minister Robb said.
“The delivery of infrastructure is one of Australia’s strengths and our businesses are looking for opportunities to deepen existing relationships to help get projects built.”
The APEC meetings focussed on the economic challenges and opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region. “APEC is the premier economic forum in the Asia-Pacific and an important element of Australia’s approach to creating an environment that supports jobs and growth – both within Australia and across the region,” Minister Robb said.
As the first ministerial gathering of the year, the meetings are an important milestone in the APEC calendar and will establish members’ commitments for 2015.
In this year’s Budget, the Australian Government announced measures to stimulate investment by small business, to help attract new foreign investment and to promote the benefits of free trade agreements with China, Korea and Japan.
“This is compatible with the objectives Australia is actively pursuing through APEC such as helping to foster the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in regional and global markets and value chains and working towards the establishment of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific,” he added.
“APEC’s work to address ‘behind the border’ barriers to services, trade and investment will also lead to new opportunities for Australian businesses in areas such as banking, insurance, professional services, telecommunications and education.”
Mr Robb said APEC was well-placed to champion these reforms and help to shield the Asia-Pacific region from global risks and to strengthen its capacity as a global economic powerhouse.