Thursday, 14 Jun 2012
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Philippines: President Aquino visits UK – June 2012
British Embassy Manila
President Aquino’s first, and so far only, visit to Europe gives strong push to UK-Philippine relations. Business announcements demonstrate depth of British commercial engagement across energy, power and aerospace.
President Benigno Noynoy Aquino visited London as a guest of the British Government on 5-6 June, accompanied by seven of his cabinet ministers.
Despite arriving during the Jubilee celebrations, he and his party were able to meet the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary at No.10, attend a business lunch hosted by Jeremy Browne and the Lord Mayor of London, call on HRH the Duke of York, witness a number of UK-Philippines business deals being signed and pay a private visit to the Imperial War Museum.
A visit to St Pancras gave the president a close-up view of British infrastructure capability as the Philippines takes forward its PPP plans. As important as the programmed activities was the symbolism of President Aquino making his first ever visit to Europe, with London as the only stop.
The visit reinforced Britain’s position as leading EU investor in the Philippines. Shell signed an MoU with the Philippines government for a feasibility on LNG worth US$30m. A strong boost to exports was given with two other announcements: Rolls Royce signed a service support contract with Cebu Pacific worth US$280m and GazAsia signed an MoU with Aboitz for a Joint Venture for a biomethan project worth US$150m. The visit paved the way for forthcoming inward visits by the Department of Public Works and Highways Secretary Singson in June and Health Secretary Ona in July – both will have a strong PPP focus.
The PM lobbied in support of a series of individual UK projects and issues.. The Philippine side reacted positively. President Aquino painted an upbeat picture of the Philippines economy, with 6.4% growth in the first quarter. He hoped the number of UK companies doing business in his country would increase.
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