PH, Indian firms urged to forge partnerships

By Louella D. Desiderio, The Philippine Star

Posted at Dec 15 2012 09:24 AM | Updated as of Dec 15 2012 05:24 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Philippine firms and Indian companies are urged to form partnerships and explore opportunities for business to enhance trade relations between the two countries and achieve higher economic growth.

Speaking at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) - India Business Seminar and Business-to-Business Meetings, Indian Chamber of Commerce vice president Roopen Roy said Philippine firms and Indian companies should look at business opportunities to increase trade between the two countries and achieve higher economic growth.

“The aim is to explore newer avenues for business between India and the Philippines,” he said.

India’s Ambassador to the Philippines Amit Dasgupta added it is in the interest of India to look at business opportunities in the Philippines and how Indian firms could work with Filipino firms to increase trade between the two countries.

“On both minds, the perception is fixed. Neither side knows much about each other,” he said.

He admitted that Indian firms do not know much about the available opportunities in the Philippines, as well as Philippine companies are not aware of what areas and how they could do business in India, thus trade between the two countries has been miniscule.

He cited that trade between the two countries is currently valued at $1.4 billion, which is low relative to others in the ASEAN.

The value of trade between India and the ASEAN, he said, is currently at $80 billion.

“We need to take steps to correct this,” he said.

He said that while an agreement between India and ASEAN covering trade in services and investment promotions is being discussed and seen to help enhance trade relations between India and the Philippines, partnerships between Indian and Filipino companies could change the lack of information on opportunities in both countries and lead to an increase in trade.

Asian Development Bank executive director Ashok Lahiri acknowledged that partnerships between Filipino and Indian companies for business would not only help enhance trade between the two countries, but would also allow for higher economic growth and active participation in the Asian century or the dominant role the region can play in the global economy.

As both countries face the challenge of finding jobs for the young, with a large part of the population above 20 years old, he said the two countries could work together to develop the industrial sector and create jobs.

“Both India and the Philippines need to build the industrial sector to be able to walk on both legs and create jobs for the young in the future,” he said.

He said the industrial sector of both countries has not been fully developed due to lack of infrastructure.