Major players and stakeholders in Qatar’s private sector have expressed keen interest in partnering with their counterparts in the Philippines, according to the southeast Asian nation’s top diplomat here.

Ambassador Lillibeth V Pono told Gulf Times that the Philippine embassy in Qatar has been facilitating connections between both countries’ private sectors amid efforts by the administration of Philippine President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos, Jr to push for more foreign direct investment (FDI).

According to Pono, one of the mandates of the embassy is to promote the Philippines’ economic interests through economic diplomacy and economic intelligence initiatives, as well as sharing opportunities and facilitating dialogues with businesses and other private sector stakeholders.

The ambassador said the embassy is also assisting the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in the Philippines during the conduct of the Outbound Business Matching Mission (OBMM), which is organised by the DTI- Export Marketing Bureau (DTI-EMB), together with the Philippine Trade and Investment Centre (PTIC) – Dubai and Centre for International Trade Expositions and Missions (CITEM).

Pono also expressed optimism for potential collaboration between the private sectors of the Philippines and Qatar, citing business-to-business dialogue involving “big initiatives that could not be revealed at the moment.”

However, Pono said the memorandum of understanding signed by Qatar Chamber with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), as well as with the Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry, during the “historic” state visit of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani last April 2024 reflect the robust relations between both nations’ private sectors.

In an interview with Qatar News Agency, PCCI president Enunina Mangio described His Highness the Amir’s state visit as “a significant event for the Philippine business sector” and “represents Qatar’s sincere interest in contributing to the Philippine’s development goals.”

During her speech at the embassy’s recent commemoration of the 126th anniversary of the Declaration of Philippine Independence held in the presence of HE the Minister of Justice and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs Ibrahim bin Ali al-Mohannadi in Doha, Pono lauded His Highness the Amir’s visit as "a demonstration of efforts to galvanise the action needed to elevate our bilateral relations to new heights.”

Pono said: “During the visit, we witnessed the signing of several landmark agreements and the straightforward and sincere dialogue between the Amir and Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr on further expanding the scope of bilateral co-operation, notably in trade and investment, agriculture, energy, defence, culture, climate change, and labour, among many other areas.”

The ambassador also said: “The Philippines and Qatar commit to working closely to foster stronger economic relations, and we will be glad to have more and more Qatar investors becoming part of the Philippines’ growth trajectory.

“We are a reliable and stable partner with our sound micro-economic fundamentals, an agile, educated, and skilled workforce, and business-friendly climate. We are now considered as one of the fastest-growing economies in the Asian region, expected to hit 6% growth in 2024 from 5.5% in 2023.”
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