More UK-PH high-level engagements eyed after British minister’s visit

MANILA -- The Philippines is seeking more high-level engagements with the United Kingdom (UK), particularly in trade and investment, law enforcement, and education after a three-day visit of its minister to Manila.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano conveyed this during the courtesy call of British Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field, who was in the country on August 15-17. Field met with Cayetano on Thursday after visiting the Senate.

In line with our policy of being 'a friend to all and an enemy to none', we look forward to further engagement with the UK on various fronts, Cayetano said in a statement issued after the meeting.

At the same time, he invited British companies to participate in the Duterte Administration's infrastructure program.

Before leaving Manila on Friday, Field expressed UK's commitment to bolster ties with the Philippines.

"After leaving the EU (European Union), we will be seeking to strengthen our relationship with ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) as an institution, and we will endeavor to further strengthen our relationship with the Philippines, building on longstanding relations, which date back to Sir Francis Drake's landing in Mindanao in 1579," he said in a forum in Taguig City that was organized by the Stratbase ADR Institute.

Field said a number of British companies have actually expressed their interest to invest or expand their investments in the Philippines. There are more than 200 British businesses already established in the country.

The UK is one of the largest European investors in the Philippines, with companies such as Standard Chartered Bank, Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corp., Astra-Zeneca, Pru-Life UK, Forum Energy and B/E Aerospace having a presence in the country.

In 2017 alone, the total trade between the two countries reached USD987 million, with Philippine exports at USD480 million and imports from the UK at USD506 million, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs' Office of Public Diplomacy.

The UK also hosts some 185,000 Filipinos, most of whom are working in such sectors as information technology, engineering, aviation, hospitality and service, and health care. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency

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