President Benigno S. Aquino III attended the Business Forum spearheaded by the Philippines-New Zealand Business Council (PNZBC) in cooperation with the New Zealand-Philippines Business Council (NZPBC). Around 200 business delegates from both countries converged for a unified cause, to establish a platform in uplifting the profile of Philippine business in New Zealand by promoting an increased awareness of the Philippines and Filipinos by the New Zealand business, and to encourage New Zealand business interests in the Philippines.
In his speech, President Aquino reiterated that the Philippines is open for business and under a new management where the rules are clear and the playing field is levelled. He encouraged the New Zealander businessmen to invest in our country where business climate is characterized by fairness and integrity and all are given the opportunity to profit. He also added that business contracts will be awarded based on the ability to deliver projects and not on backroom deals and political favors.
In 2011, Philippine exports to New Zealand amounted to 44.86 million US dollars, equivalent to only about 8.6 percent of the value of our imports (dairy products) from New Zealand with a total amount of 524.23 million US dollars. President Aquino is keen in narrowing this sizeable gap by enhancing the trade relations of the two countries. Aside from tropical fruits such as bananas, pineapples and coconuts that the Philippines is exporting to New Zealand, the President invited them to explore other Philippine products including electronics, home furnishings and garments.
The President was joined by Trade and Industry Sec. Gregory Domingo, Foreign Affairs Sec. Albert Del Rosario, His Worship Len Brown, the City Mayor of Auckland and Minister Maurice Williamson representing the New Zealand government.
* * *