UK sees PH as ‘emerging power’
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is among several countries that the United Kingdom (UK) considers as “emerging powers,” newly appointed British Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad said Wednesday.
“We have identified a number of countries and we have a special name for them: “emerging powers,” Ahmad told reporters in a round table discussion Wednesday after he has formally presented his credentials to President Benigno Aquino III Tuesday.
“[It] shows that you’re not just emerging as an economy but you can become powerful on a global stage,” he said.
Ahmad cited the slowdown in the growth of developed countries such as the UK, United States of America, as well as other European countries and the fast growing economies in Asia such as the Philippines.
“The UK, Europe, and North America, we are the old economies that have led the world in innovation, creativity and growth for centuries. Suddenly the brakes are on our economy and we have to remodel our engagement,” Ahmad said.
“It’s in Asia where the big engine of growth actually is, and the Philippines of course is now growing only second to China,” he said.
The Philippine economy grew by 6.6 percent in 2012 while the fourth quarter of that year was at 6.8 percent. In comparison, China grew by 7.8 percent in the fourth quarter while Vietnam was at 5.4 and Singapore was at 1.1.
Ahmad said that they want to further increase the investments of the UK in the Philippines.
“We have to increase our investments in this country, we are already fortunate that the UK is the largest investor in the Philippines from the European Union. We’re not complacent, we want to develop and build that,” Ahmad said.
“I want to do something which hasn’t been done before, which is to generate high levels of investment from the Philippines into the UK,” he added.
Thailand, which was Ahmad’s previous post before the Philippines, invested in a steel manufacturing plant in England which he said was “the single biggest investment in the UK from anywhere in the world.”
“If Thailand can do it I can’t see any reason we can’t have someone from the Philippines doing it,” Ahmad said.
He revealed that he was already in talks with one business in the Philippines to invest in the UK but he refused to disclose the name of that business. Ahmad said that it is “almost as big as the [deal with Thailand].”
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