Philippine Qatar Trade Initiative (PhlQat) senior adviser Jose Manuel G Romualdez.
PICTURE: Peter Alagos
By Peter Alagos/Business Reporter
Industry leaders from the Philippine private sector are meeting with their counterparts at the Qatar Chamber today to explore areas of mutual interest and to encourage Qatari investors to bring their businesses to the Philippines.
Philippine Qatar Trade Initiative (PhlQat) senior adviser Jose Manuel G Romualdez told Gulf Times that the exploratory talks with Qatar Chamber will focus on the areas of telecommunications, agriculture, real estate, aviation, information technology (IT), petroleum and logistics, tourism and hospitality, and business process outsourcing (BPO), among others.
“This initiative is purely exploratory but at the same time we have already identified which areas we can develop,” noted Romualdez, who said the 22 members of the delegation will be in Qatar until Thursday.
He added: “But what we want to do is to bring Qatari investors to the Philippines and get them interested in pouring investments in the country…We’re very enthusiastic and quite confident that something will come out of this meeting with Qatar Chamber.”
PhlQat chief executive officer Ramon Cruz explained that PhlQat is a joint undertaking by the Philippine’s private sector in co-operation with government agencies together with Qatar Airways and Qatar Chamber.
“It is represented by captains of industries from the Philippine private sector with Middle East dealings and experience. Its key objective is to strengthen the relations between the two countries through trade and investment through private sector initiative and complemented by efforts endorsed by their respective governments,” he said.
Romualdez also underscored the role played by Qatar Airways in bringing PhlQat to Qatar: “Qatar Airways, obviously, plays a major role in opening up this whole initiative, which is why we are confident that, now that they have invited us to be here, there’s a very good, positive effect that would come out of it.”
Philippine Ambassador Wilfredo Santos said: “What is important is that the private sectors of both countries are taking the initiative to strengthen their own engagements, and possibly they could conduct partnerships to increase economic ties.
“This is a good development and since they have been invited by Qatar Airways and the Qatar Chamber, this is a good example of private sector participation in the areas of business and trade.”
Asked how PhlQat could entice Qatari investors to the Philippines, Romualdez said the administration of President Benigno Aquino “has been able to give us the image that things are moving in the Philippines.”
“The only thing we can do is show them what we have…the economy is growing by about 7% and these credit ratings have already created a perception that the Philippines is a place to be in,” he stressed.
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