Australian envoy bares trade, investment plans for NegOcc

June 4, 2022 by No Comments

AUSTRALIAN Ambassador to the Philippines His Excellency Steven Robinson echoed his country’s plan to strengthen the trade and investment and people-to-people bond in the Philippines, particularly in Negros Occidental.Robinson arrived in the province earlier this week and paid a courtesy visit to Negros Occidental Governor Eugenio Jose Lacson, outgoing Bacolod City Mayor Evelio Leonardia, and members of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry.Robinson, in a meeting with some local media on Wednesday, June 1, 2022, said the trade relations between Australia and Philippines started decades ago.It has been sustained and are currently growing incredibly, he said.The ambassador said that in the previous meetings between Department of Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. and Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez with their Australian counterparts, it was agreed that there is a need to re-examine and elevate both countries’ strategic partnerships in the second half of 2022.They are looking at elevating the number of investments in the country, especially in Negros Occidental, he said.During the administration of the late-Negros Occidental Governor Alfredo Marañon Jr., he signed several agreements and partnerships with Australian firms which developed the province’s agriculture, livestock, education and skills training.He added that Australian companies are looking closely at investing in the Philippines.”At least 300 Australian companies are operating in the Philippines, and they have been operating for some time,” Robinson noted.Robinson is also confident that despite the problems brought by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic, the Philippines’ economy will rebound, grow, and return to pre-pandemic levels.“Australia sees a six percent growth in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and the future is looking bright for the Philippines,” he said, adding that the country has become the number one investment location globally.Robinson said the investments eyed for the country and Negros Occidental are in digital, cyber, green energy, construction, and logistics, among others.”There are lots of opportunities,” the ambassador said.The Australian government, he said, is also interested in what it can do particularly across construction, renewable energy, manufacturing and business process outsourcing.Meanwhile, Lacson and Robinson discussed the investment opportunities and tourism promotion for the province in a meeting held at Nature’s Village Resort in Talisay City.The ambassador was with his wife, Rhonda, together with James Yeomans, Counsellor for Political, Economic and Public Affairs; Alexander O’Hara, Third Secretary for Political Affairs; Mabellene Reynaldo, Senior Program Officer for Economic Affairs; and Bethany Randell, Director, Philippines Section, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.Also joining the meeting were Provincial Administrator Atty. Rayfrando Diaz II, Provincial Legal Officer Atty. Alberto Nellas Jr., Executive Assistant to the Governor Charina Magallanes – Tan, Scholarship Program Head Karen Dinsay, Provincial Tourism Officer Cheryl Decena, and Provincial Agriculturist Dr. Edmundo Causing.Leonardia also welcomed Robinson during his visit to the Bacolod City Government Center on Tuesday, May 31, 2022.Robinson is a Deputy Secretary-level officer from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade who presented his credentials to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on January 15, 2019.Over his extensive career, Robinson has developed and expanded Australia’s relationships with a broad range of countries, focusing on the South East Asian region.He also served in Australia’s embassies in Jakarta, Yangon, and Bangkok and has held senior positions in Canberra across operational and corporate areas.City Development Council vice-chairman George Zulueta gave the ambassador and his party a “temporary situation” of Bacolod through a presentation.