Australian mining and logistics firms are interested in doing business in the Philippines according to Australian ambassador Steven J. Robinson, who cited policy reforms that have eased the barrier to entry.

“I think the future’s looking very, very good,” he said on May 20, the first day of the Philippines-Australia Friendship Festival in SM Megamall’s Fashion Hall.

Noting that ratings agencies predict that the Philippine economy will bounce back to pre-pandemic levels, Mr. Robinson said: “That’s a great reason for Australian firms to be here and invest.”

More than 300 Australian companies operate in the Philippines, employing over 44,000 Filipinos in business process outsourcing, infrastructure, financial services, ICT (information and communications technology), and energy sectors.

In 2020, Australia ranked 20th among the Philippines’ export markets; 15th among import suppliers; and 15th among trading partners. In the same year, total bilateral trade was valued at $1.13 billion and promotion agency investments from Australia amounted to $9.68 million.

The Philippines is Australia’s 10th largest market for dairy, as Australia accounts for 4% of total Philippine dairy imports, according to Bel S. Castro, a founding faculty member of Enderun Colleges. Australia also has over 500 wine labels available locally.

Coles Group Limited — an Australian retailer known for chocolate bars, milk, and honey — recently entered the country through a distribution agreement with SM Supermarkets.

The Philippines-Australia Friendship Festival runs until May 22 at the SM Megamall Fashion Hall.

There will be a free afternoon program on May 21, as well as pop-ups featuring wines, sustainable meat, healthy snacks, and beauty products from the Land Down Under. Booths with information on education opportunities in Australian universities will also be present. Two round trip tickets to Australia via Qantas will be raffled off. — Patricia B. Mirasol