LONDON affirmed its commitment to pursue partnerships with Manila during last week's Philippine Economic Briefing, with senior officials pointing to recent deals and ongoing discussions as indicators of strong trade and investment ties.
"The Philippines has been identified as a priority country for British investment partnerships," the Department of Finance (DoF) said in a statement where it noted that Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno had reported that 2022 economic growth exceeded the government's target.
Alistair White, the United Kingdom's deputy ambassador to Manila, noted during the briefing that bilateral trade between the two countries had already returned to pre-pandemic levels of about £2.1 billion.
The British government, the DoF said, would be among the first partners of the Philippines for the design of New Clark City.
"Together with the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, they will explore partnerships on how to make the city into a mega metropolis," it said.
Richard Graham, the Member of Parliament for Gloucester and the UK's trade envoy to Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, was said to have highlighted the "high level of trust" between the Philippines and the UK.
Graham cited this month's announcements that British alcoholic beverage firm Diageo would be buying the Philippines' Don Papa Rum for $280 million, and that automotive distributor Inchcape Plc would be taking a controlling interest in CATS Motors.
He also noted that Philippines' Emperador Inc. had acquired Scotland-based Whyte & Mackay in 2014.
London, Graham said, planned to enhance its partnership with Manila via the UK-Philippine Economic Dialogue. Renewable energy, science and research, and trade and policy were said to be among the sectors under discussion.
The DoF said that with structural reforms removing investment barriers in place, the Philippines was looking for companies interested in telecommunications, airports, toll roads, agribusiness, renewable energy and shipping.