Aquino holds more business meetings in Belgium

Posted on September 17, 2014

ON TO the third day of his four-nation, eight-day Europe trip, President Benigno S. C. Aquino III met with top officials and business firms in Brussels, Belgium yesterday as he continues to woo European investors into the country.

Deputy Presidential Spokesman Abigail F. Valte, in a news briefing on Tuesday, said the President met with European Council President Herman van Rompuy, Prime Minister Elio di Rupo and King Philippe of Belgium to discuss trade relations and the same issues taken up with the Spanish officials.

Mr. Aquino also invited the Belgian King and Belgian Economic Mission to visit the Philippines, she said. He likewise attended the Conference on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) Program for Infrastructure Projects in the Philippines, jointly organized by the PPP Center, the Trade department, the Embassy of the Philippines in Belgium, the Association of European Chambers of Commerce and Industry, and Friends of Europe to highlight the role of PPP in the government’s infrastructure development agenda and provide the participants an update on the Philippine economy, including investment opportunities and incentives for foreign investors.

The deputy presidential spokesman noted that the President also meet with officials of the Royal Dutch Shell PLC, active in oil and gas exploration and production, refining, distribution and marketing, petrochemicals and trading; and officials of HSBC Holdings PLC, a multinational banking and financial services company and with officials of Asia House, a nonprofit, non-political organization that aims to build dynamic links between the diverse communities of Europe and Asia.

Ms. Valte added that one of the highlights of the Belgium trip was the policy speech delivered at the Egmont Institute, an independent think-tank based in Brussels, for the 50th anniversary of Philippine-European Union (EU) relations that centered on the enduring partnership of the Philippines and the EU based on shared values of democracy rule of law.

The President kicked off his three-day visit in Brussels Monday with a meeting with European Commission President José Manuel Barroso where the pair tackled various issues, including bilateral trade and relations and the West Philippine Sea dispute with Asian economic giant, China.

Meanwhile, the President will also speak to American businessmen when he visits the US from Sept. 20 to 24 to speak on climate change before a United Nations summit in New York, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) announced yesterday.

DFA Assistant Secretary Maria Andrelita Austria said that among other engagements, the President will be receiving three business calls from American firms.

In New York, the DFA official said, Mr. Aquino will have roundtable discussions with business groups. He will also speak at the World Leaders Forum of Columbia University. -- I.C.C. Delavin