Thursday, 22 April 2010

Spanish investors eye RP as their production hub in Asean region

Max V. de Leon
Business Mirror

Delegations of Spanish businessmen will be visiting the country in the coming months to explore possibilities of making the Philippines their production hub for the region, Trade Secretary Jesli Lapus said.

The interest of Spanish investors in the Philippines, Lapus said, was spurred by the visit of President Arroyo to Madrid last week, where she met with business executives.

Lapus said the President was able to persuade Spanish businessmen to take a closer look at the country’s abounding opportunities. “The President encouraged Spanish companies to invest in the Philippines and use the country as manufacturing base to serve the Asean region.”

Lapus said expected to come to the Philippines this year are the delegation from the region of Catalunia and the Confederation of Employers and Industries of Spain, the top Spanish businessmen’s organization with a large membership of private and public companies.

Also, Lapus reported that during the Madrid business trip, Grupo Leche Pascual firmed up its investment commitment to establish a €20-million yoghurt and soy-drink facility that will serve as a base for exports to Southeast Asia.

The company will be sending its executives in the second quarter of the year to meet with local companies that could become its joint-venture partners.

The products of Leche Pascual, one of Spain’s biggest dairy-product manufacturing companies, are nonrefrigerated with a shelf life of six months. The products will be priced affordably and are ideal to low-income communities where access to milk is scarce.

Lapus said Leche Pascual also offered its high-quality yoghurt products to public-school children in selected poor regions as part of a parallel social-assistance program.

Spain was the Philippines’ 33rd trading partner last year. Total bilateral trade reached $187.67 million, with Philippine exports to Spain amounting to $71.94 million.

Philippine top exports to Spain are coconut (copra) crude oil valued at $16.64 million, and marine and aquaculture products at $8.50 million.

Lapus said Filipino exporters should look into Spain’s increased demand for fishery and other marine products, auto-replacement parts, fashion jewelry and WiFi-/WiMAx equipment.

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