UK opens business center in PHL; eyes to strengthen SME partnerships

MANILA, June 18 (PNA) — The United Kingdom has opened Business Chamber of Commerce Philippines (BCCP) which aims to strengthen connections of British and Filipino businesses particularly small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“We in Britain, we see the emerging economies and democracies around the world of which the Philippines is one of the most important for us as a major emerging democratic powerhouse in the ASEAN region. We see huge opportunities for Britain to help this economy (and) democracy to develop,” said British Trade Envoy to the Philippines George Freeman MP.

Freeman, together with British Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad and BCCP chairman Roger Lamb, led the ribbon-cutting ceremony of BCCP office Wednesday at W Fifth Avenue Building, Bonifacio Global City.

The UK trade envoy is also in the Philippines for a trade mission.

“This facility, it’s about the small companies. It’s about the interaction between people… This is where British companies and Filipino companies will be able to interact in a very professional business environment,” he said.

“As a mature economy we have partner companies that can bring value to this economy and with partnership with Philippine government and companies already here it’s a win-win for the Philippines and for UK companies to grow business around the world. That’s why we prioritize the Philippines as a major trading partner,” he added.

He cited advantages of the Philippines which are attractive for business partnerships such as being pro-trade, pro-law, Western orientation, and English-speaking population.

Ambassador Ahmad, on the other hand, noted that establishing a British business center here is a shift of giving opportunities to small and medium scale businesses to venture in the Philippines rather than just big companies.

“It’s not just about doing things in the future but what is already happening here now. We started from great positional strength; the UK is the largest investors in the Philippines from European Union. We start from very strong base,” Ahmad said.

“What we’re doing today is shifting emphasis giving opportunities to small, medium size companies that have not yet discovered Philippines. This is where the Chamber comes in partnering with British Embassy,” he stressed.

The British ambassador here said strengthening the connection with Philippine businesses is a strategic partnership as UK already established economic relation with BRIC economies Brazil, Russia, India and China.

He noted that it is now time to look into other emerging economies in which the Philippines is one of the.

Meanwhile, prior to establishing BCCP, UK’s business centers are already present in other Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Vietnam. (PNA)