Spain to explore infrastructure, other business activities in PHL

By Kris M. Crismundo

MANILA, Mar 24 (PNA) — The Philippines has gained another interest from a European country to explore domestic business activities here.

The Spanish government and business community brought 50 officials and business delegations in the country to strengthen bilateral trade and participate in economic activities in both sides.

During the membership meeting of Makati Business Club (MBC) Monday in Makati City which was attended by the Spanish delegations, they expressed interest in areas which are priorities of the Philippine government.

National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Director General and Socioeconomic Planning secretary Arsenio Balisacan has invited the Spanish business community to invest in areas of infrastructure, industrial manufacturing, tourism, and agri-business as these are the priority sectors of the government to promote economic and inclusive growth.

A business delegate said during the forum that Spanish businesses would like to explore possibilities in infrastructure activities here which will be significant for the country to attract investments in other areas.

Spain is a global leader in infrastructure sector as 37 percent of the world’s transport infrastructure is managed by Spanish companies.

Likewise, MBC Executive Director Peter Angelo Perfecto told reporters at the sidelines of the forum that the Spanish business community has strong interest in infrastructure sector and also looking at Public-Private Partnership (PPP) projects here.

”Yes, I think they do (have interest in PPP). But just like all the other foreign companies, they will work with local partner,” said Perfecto.

Further, the Spanish investors were also invited to take advantage of the Philippine tourism sector as this will be one of the major growth driver for the country in the coming years.

Balisacan mentioned that the country would like to see Spanish hotels here which are already present in other Southeast Asian countries like Vietnam.

“We’re hoping to entice them to tourism because they also have a strong tourism industry in Spain. There are so much we can learn, a lot of technology that can be transferred,” MBC’s Perfecto echoed, on the other hand.

”There’s a broad range of interest. They also look at investing here, trying to see if they can locate here also. They also have interest in manufacturing and agriculture,” Perfecto added.

The MBC official further said the Spanish business delegation here would like to strengthen two-way trade in the country. However, both sides have yet to identify specific products they would like to focus on.

”They are just trying to look for some local partners. They want to see the conditions of doing business and they want to see the condition of making business as well as encouraging our own private sector, our own business community to look at Spain as well for investment,” said Perfecto.

”This whole group which is made up of some of their largest organizations, are looking to partner with some of our groups here and they will have some meetings with some companies here. They will have meetings with Ayala group,” he further said.

He added that the official and business delegations already had meetings with Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo and Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson.

Also Monday, Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Jose Manuel Garcia-Margallo had a courtesy call on President Benigno Aquino III.

The delegation will also be meeting Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima. (PNA)