(Manila, Philippines) - In the effort to promote free and open trade, address investment barriers and foster a stronger U.S.-Philippine relationship, a delegation of US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC) member companies met with government officials in Manila September 16-18, during the US-ABC’s annual Philippines Business Mission.
The U.S. business delegation of 21 top U.S. firms was co-led by Alexander C. Feldman, US-ABC President & CEO and Ambassador Michael W. Michalak, US-ABC Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director. Philip Vaughn, Executive Director of International Government Relations at Fluor, and co-chair of the US-ABC's Philippines Committee also helped lead the mission.
“This mission was a timely opportunity for U.S. business to renew engagement and better understand the Government of the Philippines’ priorities, as the mission follows the opening of the recently elected 18th Congress of the Philippines regular session and President Duterte’s State of the Nation address,” said Alexander C. Feldman, US-ABC President & CEO. “The Council and its members are supporting the sustainability and inclusive growth goals of the Duterte Administration’s 10 Point Economic Agenda.”
The Philippine’s 10-point Economic Agenda is a macroeconomic policy package intended to help accelerate infrastructure spending, promote rural development, and invest in human capital capacity building. In addition to supporting the Duterte Administration’s 10-Point Economic Agenda, mission themes focused on existing activities underway to promote free and open trade and remove barriers to investment. Leveraging collaboration with the Asian Development Bank and fostering a stronger U.S.-Philippine relationship were also areas of discussion.
“Fluor is proud to be part of the Philippines’ growth and development for the past 30 years. Our offices in Manila and Cebu bring world-class Filipino engineering talent to Fluor projects both in the Philippines and worldwide,” said Philip Vaughn, Executive Director of International Government Relations of Fluor Corporation. “Moreover, with almost 40 percent of our local workforce being women, Fluor Philippines is also among our most gender-diverse offices, including senior project and departmental leadership.”
The mission had a strong infrastructure focus, marking the first time the Council ventured outside metro Manila on a business mission with a day trip to Clark. Clark was formerly the former site U.S. military bases and is currently being used by civilians through the Bases Conversion and Development Authority. As a special economic zone, Clark has a new green city with an international airport and offers a viable alternative to the traffic-congested metro Manila.
During the mission, the delegation met with top officials from the Government of the Philippines, including Congressional leaders and from various departments, as well as from the United States Embassy in Manila, United States Agency for International Development and Asian Development Bank.
US-ABC delegates met with legislators:
- Senator Franklin Drilon - Minority Leader
- Senator Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III - Chair, Committee on Trade, Commerce & Entrepreneurship & Committee on Foreign Relations
- Senator Imee Marcos - Chair, Committee on Economic Affairs
- Senator Pia Cayetano - Chair, Committee on Ways and Means
- Senator Grace Poe - Chair, Committee on Public Services; Banks and Financial Institutions
- Senator Sherwin “Win” Gatchalian - Chair, Committee on Energy; Science and Technology; Education, Arts, and Culture
The Cabinet “Build Build Build” Economic Cluster:
- Secretary Carlos Dominguez, Department of Finance
- Secretary Mark Villar, Department of Public Works and Highways
- Secretary Arthur Tugade, Department of Transportation
- Vince Dizon, President & CEO, Bases Conversion and Development Authority
- Undersecretary Janet Abuel, Department of Budget and Management
Other members of the Cabinet:
- Secretary Silvestre Bello, Department of Labor and Employment
- Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Department of Energy
- Secretary Fortunato dela Pena, Department of Science and Technology
- Deputy Governor Francisco Dakila, Bangko Sental Ng Pilipinas
- Assistant Secretary Emmanuel Rey Caintic, Department of Information and Communications Technology
The Council also met with officials from the Asian Development Bank and US Embassy:
- U.S. Alternate Executive Director Jason Chung, Asian Development Bank
- The Honorable John Law, Chargé d’Affaires, U.S. Embassy in Manila
The Council also signed an MOU with the Department of Science and Technology.
Companies participating in the mission included Amazon, Bechtel, Cargill, Cisco, Citibank, Coca-Cola, Expedia, Exxon Mobil, Fluor, IBM, Jhpiego, MSD, P&G, Oracle, PMFTC, Inc., Salesforce, Sanofi, SAS Institute, Texas Instruments, United Technologies, and Visa.