Philippines welcomes first Italian business mission in 65 years

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Friday, November 23, 2012

MANILA -- For the first time in 65 years, the Philippines has welcomed a huge Italian business mission, a Trade official said Friday.

The Confederation of Italian Industries (Confindustria), Italy's biggest association of manufacturing and services companies, sent a 21-member delegation to meet with the trade associations such as the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FFCCCI), the Italian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ICCP), and the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) from 20 to 23 November 2012, said Trade Undersecretary Cristino Panlilio.

The delegation also had parallel sectoral programs on trading, infrastructure and energy. Business to business meetings were also arranged between Italian and Philippine companies.

"We are experiencing a record breaking number of inbound missions wanting to see up close and personal what the country is all about now. I believe we are in the radar of every significant country in world today," Panlilio said.

He attributed this favorable business sentiment on the transparent, just, fair and dynamic administration of President Benigno Aquino III.

"We are endeavoring to intensify our bilateral relations with Italy, one of Europe's largest economies and one of our largest markets in economic euro region," Panlilio said.

According to the Bureau of Export Trade Promotion (BETP), Italy was the Philippines' 24th trading partner, with total trade amounting to over US$587 million or 0.54 percent of Philippine total trade with the world of US$108.8 billion in 2011. From 2007 to 2011, total trade with Italy grew at 8.28 percent. Philippine exports and imports with Italy grew by 9.42 percent and 6.57 percent, respectively.

In 2011, Italy was the Philippines' 21st export market, absorbing 0.6 percent of Philippine total exports to the world of US$48.30 billion. As import supplier, Italy ranked 25th and supplied 0.49 percent of Philippines total import requirements, valued at US$60.5 billion in 2011. As a European Union bloc, Italy ranked 6th as Philippine export market with 4.86 percent of total Philippine exports to the European Union or US$5.95 billion.

Panlilio said that prominent Italian business people can now look at the Philippines for investment and trade enhancement opportunities.

"Our long diplomatic relationship has been there since 1947. We are equally committed to strengthening even further our relationship in terms of investment and trade. Various forms of economic cooperation have already been established between the Philippines and Italy," he added.

The Philippine products identified by the BETP for promotion to Italy are processed marine products, processed fruits and coconut products, costume jewelry and giftware, autoparts, home furnishings, information and communication technology (ICT) products and services, and garments. (SDR/Sunnex)

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