Philippine Business Forum in Melbourne: Strengthening Economic Ties with Australia

Philippine Business Forum in Melbourne: Strengthening Economic Ties with Australia

The Philippine Business Forum was held on 4 March 2024 alongside the ASEAN Australia Summit in Melbourne, Australia was a momentous occasion that brought together esteemed business leaders from both the Philippines and Australia.

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. delivered a keynote speech extending a warm invitation to Australian business leaders to explore investment opportunities in the Philippines. He emphasized the potential for cooperation between the two nations, particularly in areas such as climate change, energy transition, manufacturing, and services.

The President highlighted the significant bilateral trade between the Philippines and Australia, amounting to USD 4.06 billion in 2023. He also underscored key legislative reforms aimed at facilitating business operations, including amendments such as the Public Service Act, Foreign Investments Act, Retail Trade Liberalization Act and the Renewable Energy Act.

The President was joined by Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Alfredo Pascual, Secretary of the Department of Finance (DOF) Ralph Recto, Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Raphael Lotilla, House Speaker Martin Romualdez and Special Assistant to the President for Investments and Economic Affairs Secretary Frederick Go.

Key government officials also attended the forum, such as the Ambassador of Australia to the Philippines H.E. Hae Kyong Yu, and Philippine Ambassador to Australia H.E. Ma Hellen B. De La Vega.

The Business forum saw the presence of esteemed business leaders such as Australia Philippines Business Council (APBC) President Rafael Toda, Founder and Deputy Chairman St. Baker Energy Innovation Fund Trevor St Baker AO, Medgate (Asia) Holdings Pty Limited Director David King, President of ANZCham and Managing Director of Telstra Philippines Benjamin Romualdez, Philippines Australia Business Council (PABC) Chairman Atty. Dennis Quintero, Board Director of the Philippine Nickel Industry Association (PNIA) Atty. Ryan Jornada, CEO of the Victoria International Container Terminal Bruno Porchietta,  President and CEO of AC Energy Corporation (ACEN) Eric Francia. President Marcos underscored the significance of their presence, indicating a growing interest in fostering robust business partnerships between the Philippines and Australia.

The Business Forum saw the signing of 12 new business agreements totalling USD 1.53 billion between Philippine and Australian companies, including APBC members such as Cyclion a waste-to-energy technology company providing renewable energy who reached an agreement with NDC, Murdoch University; also an APBC member with an agreement with the NDC to establish a globally recognised Southeast Asian Biosecurity Institute in the Philippines. Additional sectors with agreements also included housing development, data centers, plastic recycling and health technology solutions. These agreements exemplify the growing synergy between the two nations and signify a firm commitment to fostering innovation and sustainable development.

A highlight of the event was the unified pitch presented by high-ranking Philippine government officials, including Secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Alfredo Pascual, Secretary of the Department of Finance (DOF) Ralph G. Recto, and Department of Energy (DOE) Secretary Raphael Lotilla. Director General Tereso O. Panga of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) showcased Australia’s increasing profile in Philippine economic zones and emphasized the country’s maturing industry ecosystems. This collective effort underscored the Philippine government’s commitment to creating a conducive environment for investment and economic growth.

Finance Secretary Ralph Recto highlighted the Philippines’ comprehensive plan to drive investments-led growth through policy reforms such as the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Code. Recent legislative amendments, including the Retail Trade Liberalization Act and Foreign Investments Act, have enhanced the Philippines’ attractiveness to foreign investors by streamlining regulatory processes. Secretary Recto emphasized the country’s commitment to fiscal discipline and prudent debt management, ensuring stability amidst global economic uncertainties.

President Marcos Jr. reiterated the Philippines’ commitment to purposeful reforms and welcomed greater cooperation with Australia in addressing climate change and achieving energy transition. The forum provided a platform for meaningful dialogue and collaboration between business leaders from both countries, paving the way for enhanced trade and investment relations.

The Philippine Business Forum in Melbourne served as a testament to the strong bilateral ties between the Philippines and Australia. Through strategic partnerships and policy reforms, both nations are poised to capitalize on emerging opportunities and drive sustainable economic growth, contributing to regional prosperity and mutual benefit.

The Business forum was organized by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in partnership with the Australia Philippine Business Council (APBC), the Philippines Australia Business Council (PABC) and the Australia-New Zealand Business Chamber (ANZCHAM). The APBC would like to thank our event partners, sponsors: Victoria International Container Terminal, Philippine Nickel Industry Association, Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce Philippines, and ACEN Energy.

Register to become an Australia Philippines Business Council member or email to learn more.

Photos by: Lente by JVG

Become A Sponsor

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua uis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla.