FRENCH shipbuilding company OCEA plans to invest P1.5 billion to build a shipyard in the Philippines, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.

OCEA Chief Executive Officer Roland Joassard revealed the plan during a joint economic committee meeting between the two countries last week, DTI said in a press release on Wednesday.

The project will create 500 to 600 direct and indirect jobs. OCEA has not yet responded to inquiries about the site of the project or the construction timeline.

The announcement is the latest international investment in Philippine shipyards, amid ongoing talks of the potential takeover of the shipyard left behind by the collapsed Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction-Philippines, Inc.

Representatives from both France and the Philippines during the economic meeting also discussed potential bilateral cooperation in areas like agriculture, aviation, aeronautics, creative industries, electronics, energy and green technology, transportation, and shipbuilding.

Both countries agreed to work on integrated circuit design projects through partnerships between their electronics industry groups.

French Minister for Foreign Trade and Economic Attractiveness Franck Riester also confirmed financial support for Philippine government transportation projects and support for a training boat contract for the Philippine Merchant Marine Academy.

“Both countries also identified specific projects on dairy development, geographical indications, and control and eradication of African Swine Fever (ASF) in the agriculture sector, and areas for market access as the Philippines and France prepare for a future bilateral agriculture meeting,” DTI said.

The joint economic committee with France is the longest-running high-level economic dialogue between the Philippines and a European country. Representatives from both economies plan to meet next year in Paris. — Jenina P. Ibañez