The PSBC recently held its annual general membership meeting at the PCCI headquarters in McKinley Hills, Taguig City last 07 June 2017. Our special guests were Usec. Nora K. Terrado of the DTI, Swiss Ambassador to the Philippines Andrea Reichlin and PCCI Chairman Amb. Benedicto V. Yujuico. Other PCCI officials, our valuable PSBC members and friends were also present to witness this year’s GMM. For the first time, we adopted a “Business Meeting” atmosphere to make the gathering conducive to business discussion between participants. The GMM commenced promptly at 9:30 a.m. with a presentation by Usec. Terrado on the government’s perspective on Philippine-Swiss trade and discussed the current standing of trade and investments for the PH with the world and the PH and Switzerland to be specific. Export product opportunities and the status and benefits of the PH-EFTA free trade agreement after ratification was also part of the insightful presentation. Usec.Terrado who oversees the Export Marketingbureau as one of her responsibilities listed products that can be marketed in Switzerland. Usec. Terrado suggested follow-up activities to craft the exportplan. Next, Luis E. Mendez, PSBC Chair, presented business and trade the “PSBC erspective”, hammering on how PSBC understands the opportunitiesthat exists now and in the immediate horizon when FTA is ratified. Equally, Luis emphasized how knowledge of the Swiss industry, markets and buyers can produce instant benefits for the ready now PH exporters and recipients of the DTI Ripples program. Luis also emphasized that business is available for everyone, but it is how we will ground ourselves to contribute and help others or directly participate and profit from trade between both great countries.
Atty. Ernesto S. Mascenon, PSBC Vice-Chair, carried of with a presentation of the PSBC action programs on how members can work together for the future of business & trade. The presentation was particularly interesting as suggestions and ideas were asked from participants and will form part of the programs of the council. Mr. Benjamin M. Los Baños, PSBC Director, followed with the main presentation of the day, the PSBC Big Brother program, designed to further the growth of business and trade between both countries.The programs are SME specific and utilizes on the strengths of our collective membership in support of the government’s effort to promote and grow PH products. Further, the council was informed that your board is presently working on an export pilot project with Cocogora, a coconut based products exporter represented in the meeting by its president, Ms. Pearl Tan. Mr. Los Baños capped his presentation with a call to the council that our projects will come to fruition only with active membership participation.
An event will never be complete without messages of support and encouragement from no less than the Chairman of the PCCI and the Swiss Ambassador to the Philippines. PCCI Chair, Amb. Yujuico, talked about the successful “Sulong Pilipinas Business Consultation Workshop”, a joint project of the PCCI and the national government to craft the 10-point actionable recommendations to promote and strengthen Philippine Industries plus non-stop promotion events kept the PCCI busy since last year. Amb. Yujuico also shared PCCI’s vision of tapping new markets while simultaneously sharpening existing business alliances. This advocacy was reinforced during dialogues between officials of the PCCI, DFA and DTI. The PCCI Chair also called upon the PSBC to further enhance PCCI’s linkage with the EFTA markets and is confident that the PSBC Big Brother program in the pipeline will be an effective mechanism to help PH companies gain wider market access. The Chair stressed that PCCI through the SME & Export Services under Mr. Roberto C. Amores and the International Trade Affairs Department chaired by Dr. Francis Chua can work with PSBC to link with suitable counterparts. PCCI is ready to support the PSBC work plan towards broader, efficient and continuous engagements with EFTA members.
Swiss Amb. Reichlin started her talk by thanking the PSBC board for sharing invaluable time to strengthen Swiss-Philippine business ties. The Ambassador also reminded PSBC on the need to connect, link, help and share opportunities between leaders in their own right. The Ambassador was referring to the established PSBC Big Brothers: Nestle, DKSH, SGS, Holcim, Novartis and Zuellig who are formidable MNE’s and whose influence and reputations speak for themselves and are dedicated to giving back. In her speech, she reminded everyone that the FTA takes effec time mediately once ratified by the PH Senate since the Swiss parliament has concluded ratification of the same agreement last year. I am enjoining all our members to participate in future Breakfast Discussions hosted by the Embassy of Switzerland in the Philippines to keep in line on developments leading to the ratification of the PH-EFTA Free Trade Agreement.
Taguig City, June 13, 2017.