UAE gov't, private sector seek investment prospects in Philippines

by Estrella Torres, Business Mirror

Posted at Oct 28 2010 11:36 PM | Updated as of Oct 29 2010 07:36 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The government of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and its private sector are seeking investment opportunities in the Philippines, particularly on infrastructure and aviation through the public-private partnership scheme.

Antonio Rodriguez, foreign undersecretary for international economic relations, led Philippine business leaders who met with a delegation from the UAE, led by Director General Mohmmed Saif Al Suwaidi of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, at the sidelines of the recent visit here of UAE King Sheikh Nahyan.

“The Philippines can now have access of up to $100 million annually from the Abu Dhabi Fund to finance government priority projects in infrastructure and social-support activities,” Rodriguez said in a statement yesterday.

Dennis Miralles, Board of Investments director, and Kenneth Tanate, National Economic and Development Authority infrastructure staff director, said they were interested in pursuing private-public partnership projects under the Abu Dhabi Fund.

Sultan Ahmed Bin Sulayem, board chairman of the Dubai Port World, who led the UAE delegation, expressed interest in pursuing partnership in tourism and aviation and increased economic ties with the Philippines.

Director Eric Tamayo, economic diplomacy director of the Department of Foreign Affairs said the government and the private sector can take advantage of the low financing cost from the UAE development fund.

There are more than 400,000 Filipino workers, mostly in the infrastructure sector in the UAE who, according to Philippine diplomatic and labor officials, helped its economy soften the impact of the global financial turmoil.

Felino Palafox, an architect and current vice president of the Philippines-UAE business cooperation, cited the role of overseas Filipino workers and local companies in the massive infrastructure projects in the UAE.

“Various businessmen conveyed their interest in undertaking collaborative projects with UAE businessmen in construction, architecture and design, ship crewing and manning, tourism, aviation, large-scale manufacturing, logistics and various other sectors,” Rodriguez said.

He expressed hope the business meeting would bring about more long-term engagements among UAE and Filipino business leaders.?