British Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad assured on Thursday the economic relations of Britain and Philippines will not be affected despite the firming up of the document that officially signified his country’s withdrawal from European Union.
As part of its two-day trade and investment mission in Davao City, the British Chamber of Commerce Philippines headed a sector briefing and business networking lunch at SGV Seminar Hall, Topaz Tower, Damosa District Davao City, gathering more than 50 delegates across industries.
Gracing the event, Ahmad said that with ‘Brexit’ (British exit), the country will be a lot easier to be accessed by potential investors as their withdrawal from EU also means freedom from the “strict” rules being implemented by the organization.
“UK has always been a proponent of free trade,” said Ambassador Ahmad.
In an interview, BCCP Executive Director Chris Nelson said that part of the UK government and private sector’s efforts to renew their focus on trade and investments with other countries is BCCP’s trade mission in Davao City which brought in 48 delegates from 30 Britain-based companies and businesses with commercial interests in Davao City and Mindanao and gathering local business players, trade associations and business groups.
The high priority investment sectors in Mindanao such as agribusiness, information communications technology, infrastructure and property development and energy will be highlighted in the forum.
Nelson also bared UK exports to the Philippines grew by 38% in 2015, the second highest worldwide.
“The UK is the largest European investor in the Philippines worth in excess of £1 B (US $1.2 B) as of 2015,” he said.
The executive director also reported that bilateral trade between the two countries is worth around $1.8 billion annually.
Meanwhile, on tourism, Ambassador Ahmad said over 110,000 UK nationals visited the Philippines in 2016, comparatively lower than Thailand which he previously served as British ambassador with 1.5 million annual tourist arrival.
Despite the figures, Ahmad said the daily expenditure of one British tourist in the Philippines can be compared to that of four or five British tourists in China.
On June 23, 2016, citizens of Britain voted for a British exit, or Brexit, from the EU in a historic referendum which prompted jubilant celebrations among EU critics and sent shockwaves through the global economy.
After the declaration of the result, the pound fell to its lowest level since 1985 and David Cameron resigned as Prime Minister.
As Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday signed Article 50 – the step that triggered the timer on two years of Brexit talks, she quoted on a news report “This is a historic moment from which there can be no turning back.”
Britain is scheduled to finally leave the EU by the end of March 2019.