The Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce Philippines, Inc. (ANZCHAM) is pushing for a comprehensive bilateral economic partnership agreement between the Philippines and Australia as an integral step to maximizing the benefits of Asean economic integration and promoting bilateral trade and investment opportunities.
Following a study conducted by ANZCHAM – Winning the Asean Market: Impact of the Asean Economic Community on Australian and Philippine Business Relations – ANZCHAM concluded that a bilateral economic partnership agreement between the two countries would enable further growth of two-way trade and investment between Australia and the Philippines.
Tom Grealy, ANZCHAM president, said the study highlighted that Australian companies can benefit from Asean integration through expanding investments in growth sectors and supporting regional value chains from the Philippines.
Equally, Grealy said the AEC highlighted the advantages of creating a deeper and broader economic partnership between Australia and the Philippines.
The study identified business opportunities in goods such as agricultural, processed food, spirits and beverage products; pharmaceuticals, generics and supplements, manufacturing and electrical components and machinery; metals, copper, precious stones and coins, minerals, oils, animal and vegetables fats, fuels and distillation products; and optical, photo, technical medical apparatus.
It also identified opportunities in the services sector such as transnational education, travel, transport and logistics; engineering and architectural design services; financial services including insurance, accounting and actuarial services; IT consulting and management services; health and medical services; advertising and marketing, business process management, creative services and infrastructure.
“Our study highlights three interlinked recommendations that will be mutually beneficial to the interest of Australia and the Philippines. First, is to support Australian firms access Asean value chains. Second, pursue a bilateral economic partnership agreement to lock in market access – in other words a bilateral free trade agreement. And third, encourage the Philippine government to prioritize removal of barriers that hinder entry and growth of foreign businesses and investments – by gaining greater access to the Philippines market as a regional base, Australian firms can access regional value chains whilst creating jobs in the Philippines,” Grealy said.
With over 300 members, ANZCHAM is the premier business organization supporting the development and growth of Australian and New Zealand businesses in the Philippines.
THE AEC study was undertaken with funding support from the Australian Trade Commission’s Asian Business Engagement Plan.
The study assessed the potential impacts of AEC on Australia-Philippines trade and investment relations focusing on opportunities for Australian business under an AEC regime, and provides guidance to Australian industries by identifying possible business opportunities arising from Asean integration.
The review included numerous interviews with a broad cross-section of ANZCHAM’s member companies.