Miguel B. Varela
Image Source: pdrci.org

MANILA — The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) expects to sign more trade and investment-facilitation agreements with business groups of foreign countries this year as more foreign businesses have expressed keen interest in doing business in the Philippines.

PCCI President Miguel B. Varela said that the chamber is tying up with Philippine ambassadors posted in various countries to help them connect with the business community in their posts.

“We are trying to go through our ambassadors to strengthen the private sector’s presence in the foreign lands through our chamber,” Varela said.

So far, PCCI has forged 190 memorandum of understanding with their counterpart business chambers in 40 countries since 2000. At that time, Varela was serving his first term as president of PCCI. He was reelected to serve as PCCI president last year.

To add value to the agreements, the MOU signed by the parties provides for the creation of joint business councils in these foreign countries.

“The signing of MOUs with foreign countries has helped bridge the gap between Filipinos and foreign businessmen,” he said.

The latest MOUs were signed with groups in Thailand and Korea. Earlier, PCCI also signed MOUs with Latin American countries.

“We cover almost all Latin American countries,” he said. Varela further noted the influx of foreign businessmen into the country. In return, the PCCI has also sent business missions abroad.

Varela said that PCCI is taking its advocacy further to take advantage of the situation wherein the Philippines is top of mind among foreign investors.

Along with its trade promotion activities, the PCCI has also pushed for economic reforms to tap the full potential of a competitive private sector to create jobs, generate more incomes and lift more Filipinos out of poverty. (BCM, Manila Bulletin)