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France seeking to expand trade, investment with PHL

France has identified the Philippines as a “priority area” for expanding trade and investment, its ambassador to Manila said.

“Economic development and economic relations between our two countries are extremely important,” French Ambassador Michèle Boccoz said at a ceremony marking the 75 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries on Wednesday.

“Our companies are really willing to be more active and more present, and we hope that more Filipino companies will invest in France, and (for) more Philippine cooperation in France and more trade,” she added.

Foreign Affairs Deputy Assistant Secretary Rosario P. Lemque said diplomats, officials, and members of the private sector from both countries “will work together in several areas of mutual interest, build cooperation in these areas, and collaborate to develop and advance this cooperation with the aim of building resilient lives for a stronger Philippines and stronger France, despite some ongoing realities in international relations, and what everyone hopes to be the tail end of the pandemic.”

She noted various agreements in the pipeline involving defense, tourism, and cybersecurity.

The French ambassador said energy was an area of interest, noting the need for both countries to be assured of cheap energy sources.

Renewable energy and other non-polluting energies that do not worsen greenhouse gas emissions are also under discussion, she added.

Ms. Boccoz also sought increased bilateral defense and maritime cooperation.

Infrastructure through public-private partnerships were also of interest to the French, calling this a “new way” of working with the Philippines.

France is also interested in agricultural collaboration to address food security concerns due to “the impact of the Ukraine conflict on food prices, and also on supply chains and general capacity.”

Companies from the electronics and pharmaceuticals sector can also meet to build partnerships, Ms. Boccoz said.

Diplomatic relations between the Philippines and France began in 1947 after a Treaty of Amity was signed in Paris.

Source: BusinessWorld

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