A Swiss Business Delegation, led by the Swiss-Asian Chamber of Commerce(SACC), comprising of top executives from diverse industries from Switzerland with strong business interest in pharmaceuticals, metal recycling, business process management and finance development, visited the Philippines, in particular, Manila and Cebu, last November 12-16, 2014 in its effort to forge a stronger economic relationship in the country. This mission, organized by the SACC through the Philippine Embassy in Berne, Switzerland, and the Swiss Embassy in the Philippines, complements the success of the 1st Philippine Switzerland Joint Economic Commission (JEC) meeting held last July 2014.The delegates met with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary Ponciano Manolo Jr. and other officials of the Board of Investments (BOI), the Export Marketing Bureau (EMB) and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) as well as officers of the Philippine-Swiss Business Council (PSBC). “The forthcoming visit of the delegation led by the Swiss-Asian Chamber of Commerce (SACC) shows the growing interests of Swiss businessmen in the Philippines. It is also timely considering the positive developments in the country in the past few years,” DTI Undersecretary Ponciano Manalo Jr. said. “The Philippines is known for its political stability and robust economic growth, which are key indicators considered by investors. In fact, some companies that invested in our ASEAN neighbours have shown interest to relocate in the country because of its viable business environment,” added Manalo. The SACC Trade and Investment Mission to the Philippines is represented by the following; Dr. Urs Lustenberger, President and CEO Swiss –Asian Chamber of Commerce (SACC), Lustenberger Attorneys at Law; Ms. Barbara Möckli-Schneider, Secretary General, Chairwoman Myanmar Committee Swiss Asian Chamber of Commerce; Ms. Caroline Kaufmann, Head of Import Promotion, Switzerland Global Enterprise; Mr. Jose Camacho, CEO, Touchstone Venture; Mr. Peter Zuellig, CEO, Parazelsus Ltd; Mr. Andreas Wettstein, CEO, Agility 3 GmbH; and Mr. Andreas Lehmann, CEO, WRC International.
The delegates started their very hectic schedule with a Trade and Investment Forum sponsored by the BOI last November 13. After the welcoming remarks by Undersecretary Manalo and the introduction of the delegates by Dr. Lustenberger, Director Senen Perlada from the EMB proceeded with an overview of the different trade relations and business opportunities in the Philippines. This was further enhanced by the talk delivered by Mr. Raymond Lacdao from the IT and Business Process Association of the Philippines (IBPAP) regarding experiencing excellence in the PHIT Business Processing Management Industry. As is now known, a number of companies have transferred their business processing office in the country because of the proficiency of the Filipino in the English language. Presently, there are around 60 Swiss companies operating in the Philippines that employ around 15,000 Filipino workers, according to the Swiss Embassy data. As an attestment to the advantages of bringing their business in the Philippines, the CEO of SGS in the Philippines, Rosario Cajucom-Bradbury and Nestle’
Philippines CEO John Miller gave testimonials on actual first-hand experiences of their respective organizations. As Ambassador Ivo Seiber addressed during his closing remarks at the forum, the presence of activity from the Switzerland Global Enterprise SIPPO and other Swiss agencies is indicative of the big opportunities in the Philippines. With the share of trade for Asia with China, expansion to Asia has
grown and, with the ongoing peace process in the country, has opened up potentials and opportunity for business development in the Philippines. For his part, Ambassador Leslie Baja, Philippine Ambassador to Switzerland said that it will not be very difficult for Swiss companies to move some of their businesses to the country since both Switzerland and the Philippines share similar demographic and social values. As the Filipino is known worldwide for their hard working characteristic, trustworthiness and resiliency, these traits make the Philippines a good place to establish their presence in Asia.
The second day of their stay brought them to Calamba, Laguna, for a site visit of FRANKE Philippines, a Swiss company and the world’s
leading provider of intelligent systems for domestic kitchens. The delegates were toured around the premises and were given first-hand experience on the production and manufacturing scenario. After the site visit in Calamba, the delegates flew to Cebu wherein they were able to visit: the showroom of Kenneth Cobonpue, world renowned, and multi-awarded, industrial designer known for his signature designs in natural fibers and materials; and, Profoods International, the leading producer of various dried fruit, preserves, purees, concentrates, and juices. Profood products are available all over the Philippines and exported to many countries in Asia, the Middle East, Europe, North, Central, and
South America, the Caribbean, and Oceania.
”PONCIANO MANALO JR.
THE PHILIPPINES IS KNOWN FOR ITS
POLITICAL STABILITY AND ROBUST
ECONOMIC GROWTH, WHICH ARE KEY
INDICATORS CONSIDERED BY INVESTORS.
After the activities around Cebu, a farewell dinner was hosted by Ambassador Baja to thank the Delegates for their interest in the Philippines. “The Swiss companies’ visit aims to showcase opportunities the Philippines can offer them. There are no done deals yet, but the fact that they decided to visit shows their strong and serious interests in the Philippines,” Ambassador Baja said. What happens next is something to look forward to. With the strong resurgence and growth the country is set to accomplish, it is not far-fetched that other Swiss businesses will start looking at the Philippines as a stepping stone to the
Asian Market. ■