A twenty-two-member high level delegation of Pakistan-Philippines Business Council visited Manila from 26-28 February 2019 as a follow up of the decision taken at the conclusion of the inaugural session of the Joint Economic Commission (JEC) held in Islamabad on 27-28th of February 2018. The Philippines side was headed by Dr. Ceferino S. Rodolfo, the Deputy Minister for Industry Development and Trade Policy Group, (IDTPG) Department of Trade and Industry, which had laid the fresh foundations of Friendship, Cooperation and Investments for bilateral trade and cultural exchange between Pakistan & Philippines.

Dr. Muhammad Imran Yousuf who is the Hon. Consul General of Philippines in Karachi and also the Patron of Pakistan Philippines Business Forum along with chairs of the both the chapters of Pakistan Philippines Business Forum participated in the delegation along with prominent businessmen of their regions. Mr. Muhammad Aslam, President of the Pakistan-Philippines Business council in Manila graciously made all logistical/recreation arrangements for the delegation and hosted a dinner for the delegation. Ambassador of Pakistan in Manila H.E. Dr. Aman Rashid support was duly acknowledged by both sides. He also graced as a Co-chair for all meetings. This visit created a new wave of exchange of ideas between the business communities of both the countries.

The Delegation included Mr. Mehmood Arshad (President South Chapter PPBF), Mr. Fahdel Sheikh (President North Chapter PPBF), Mr. Ismail Suttar Employer’s Federation of Pakistan. The Delegates represented diverse Economic Sectors to include Islamic Financing, Halal Certifications, Medical Education Consultancy, Salt Market, General commodity traders, Pharmaceuticals, Nutraceuticals, Oral Healthcare products manufacturers, Fruits and Vegetables, Hearing Aids & Audiology Services, Foods & restaurant chain, Textile imports, Rice Export, Cement Manufacturers, and Motor cycle Rickshaws. This delegation was not limited to just importers and exporters of products but also comprised of concreate Joint Venture investments between Pakistani and Filipino partnerships to include Royal Life Pharmaceuticals having invested over 50 Million US Dollars in Philippines and Auris Hearing Audiology Centers having invested 0.9 Million USD in six branches. Meeting at the Department of Foreign Affairs

The DFA team was led by Undersecretary Ambassador Lourdes O. Yparraguirre. She welcomed the delegates and recognized the Presence of H.E. Dr. Aman Rashid the Ambassador of Pakistan in Manila.

Open discussions were held on a wide range of topics. Delegates proposed the need for FTA (Free Trade Agreement) between Pakistan and Philippines similar to the One Philippines have with Asian countries and urged Travel advisory to be amended to facilitate the Pakistani Investors and visitors. In response the DFA team suggested the possibility eliminating Security check in order to facilitate Businessmen holding valid British, American or Schengen visas. The need to promote cultural exchange and Tourism was recognized by both sides. H.E ambassador Dr. Aman Rashid’s proposal for declaring the Twinning of cities of Karachi and Makati, Metro Manila as Sister cities as part of the 70th Anniversary celebration of establishment of diplomatic relations was gladly agreed by Ambassador Yparraguirre who promised to extend full assistance is realization of this agreement by the end of the year 2019. Meeting at the Department of Trade and Industry

The DTI team was led by Dr. Ceferino S Rodolfo Undersecretary. He welcomed the Delegation from Pakistan and recognized the Presence of H.E. Dr. Aman Rashid the Ambassador of Pakistan in Manila.

The Delegates proposed the need for FTA (Free Trade Agreement) between Pakistan and Philippines similar to the One Philippines have with Asian countries. The Host members of BOI suggested investment in Philippines for Pakistani investors to benefit from EU GST Plus Status and Export to other ASEAN Countries. The Delegates also stressed upon the need for Ease of doing Business in Philippines, various Tax incentives that the Philippines government is offering for Investors from around the world to invest specially in sectors like Pharmaceuticals, construction, Manufacturing etc. and Cement Processing and cutting facilities to be established in Philippines and what benefits will it have for investors from Pakistan if they bring part of the process to Philippines. The BOI members suggested linkages between Real estate developers and builders with Cement manufacturers from Pakistan. The Host members were pleased to note that the Cement import from Pakistan had increased from 300 tons to 3000 Tons which was useful for President Duterte’s Build Build Build initiative.

Cultural Exchange through promotion of medical student and faculty Exchanges and Institutional linkages between the two countries was discussed in detail. Views were also exchanges on Hilal Islamic Financing and development of Hilal Meat products in the Philippines as well as opening of Filipino food chains like Jolibee and Chowkingin Pakistan.

While referring to the signing of the MOU on Agricultural Cooperation between the two countries in October 2018 Undersecretary indicated the potential for import of Potatoes, Rice, Pharmaceuticals from Pakistan and Export of Philippines Bananas to Pakistan. He also highlighted that Pakistan being the 4th largest cotton producer in the world could send the semi-finished cloth to Philippines which could be finished in Philippine and exported from here under a joint venture agreement to ASEAN countries. Meeting at The Philippines Chamber of Commerce Industry

The Delegates were welcomed jointly by Dr. Francis Chua Chairman Emeritus & Director for International Affairs PCCI, and Ms. Alegria Limjoco President PCCI. Mr. Mohammad Aslam Chairman Philippines Pakistan Business Council acted as the moderator for the meeting.

The Pharmaceutical Industry urged the PCCI to support new investors in cutting down process of registration of drugs. They voiced their concerns with PCCI on FDA cumbersome and long approval for registration procedures. Towards the end of meeting the Employer federation of Pakistan signed a contract/ MOA with the PCCI which was followed by exchange of Gifts and Plaques between the heads of both delegations. Special gift/plaque were presented to Ambassador H.E Dr. Aman Rashid by both sides.

During the two days visit, the delegation also held useful meetings with Food and Drug Administration Authority (FDA), met Mr. Abdul Ghani under Secretary at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and some of the delegates attended the ongoing World Halal Assembly in Manila.

All meetings were held in a spirit of friendship, cooperation and desire to make rapid advances in the above mentioned sectors/areas. The delegation left for Pakistan on 1st March 2019.

01 March 2019

Meeting at the Department of Foreign Affairs

Meeting at the Department of Trade and Industry

Meeting at the Philippines Chamber of Commerce Industry

Signing of MOU for Mutual Cooperation and Collaboration between Employers Federation of Pakistan (EFP) and Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI)

Meeting at Food and Drug Administration

Kabab&Curry, Pakistani Restaurant

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