Annual General Meeting

Date posted: September 12, 2017

Good evening Ladies and Gentlemen. I would like to start by welcoming you all to our Chamber’s 17th Annual General Meeting. We will keep the AGM short to give more time to launch and introduce two new businesses and the great locals who have the courage to realise their life’s biggest dreams.

Established in September 2000, the Chamber has become a focal point to promote trade and businesses, improve Australia-Philippines bilateral trade and cultural relationships and encourage Filipino and Australian professionals to actively engage and participate in the of economic progress within the South East Asian regions. For many, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Australia Philippines acted as their catalyst to connect with others to do business, exchange trades and further enrich their cultural knowledge. The Chamber will continue to do so with our members support, with the support of our Sister Chambers and with the support of our local community.

The Year in Review
2016 and 2017 have been very busy for the Chamber. And I like to acknowledge our hardworking members of the Board for making things happen. In September 2016, the Chamber was active in helping Vende to launch in the Philippines. The Chamber’s Vice-President is one of the founders of Vende, a Singapore based tech start-up company revolutionalising the way we do business in the digital age.

In October 2016 and November 2016, the Chamber hosted two groups of delegation introducing innovative technologies such as nano-technologies, biotech for food manufacturing and agribusiness, and super critical water technology to solve environmental problems. Members of these delegations came from Australia, India and the UK. Several workshops were held in Manila attended by senior management from several government agencies and leading industry bodies. Also in October 2016, the Chamber has signed a Sister Chamber agreement with Imus Cavite Chamber of Commerce, bringing our total number of sister chamber agreements with local chambers in the Philippines and Australia to six. That include: Cebu Chamber of Commerce;
Mandaue Chamber of Commerce; Davao Chamber of Commerce; Australia New Zealand Chamber of Commerce; Imus Cavite Chamber of Commerce and Brisbane South West Chamber of Commerce. In addition, our Chamber remains a core member of the prestigious Philippine Venture and Investment Group.

Our Chamber continues to be an active member of the Brisbane Lord Mayor’s Multicultural Business Round Table. The Round Table has membership from 25 international business council and foreign chambers of commerce, contributing to the economy and the vibrant multicultural city of Brisbane.

In May 2017, the Round Table held an annual multicultural business awards and also celebrated participants who have successfully completed their scholarship. Running now for 11 years, the scholarship program has helped about 200 plus migrants who wish receive formal business training to start their own businesses in their adopted country Australia.

In June 2017, the Chamber re-started its very popular First Mondays Business Networking Event, only this time around, it is renamed the First Tuesdays Business Networking Event due to the availability of venue. In June, July and August, we have guest speakers at our round table discussions with varied topic such as Customer Service Excellence, Team Branding and Real Estate ownership as a pathway to building wealth. The key theme of our First Tuesdays event: Learn. Share. Connect.

In August 2017, I have travelled to Cagayan de Oro in the Southern Philippines and with one of our members introduction, visited the Cagayan de Oro Chamber of Commerce office and met its President, Mr. Robertino Pizarro and its Past President and current Chair of the Mindanao Business Conference 2017, Mr. Ruben Vegafria. The Oro Chamber of Commerce expressed their interest to have a sister chamber agreement with us.

Establishing bilateral engagements with these above mentioned prestigious industry bodies will offer mutual benefits to all members on both sides.

Business Opportunities in the Philippines
According to Secretary Ernesto Pernia’s statement in early August 2017, the Philippine achieve 6.5% growth in the second quarter of 2017. Well on track to achieving 6.5% to 7% growth target for the year. The Philippines remains one of the best performing economies in Asia, overtaking Vietnam (6.2%), Indonesia (5%), Malaysia and Thailand and second to China (6.9%).

So what are the business opportunities in the Philippines for Australian companies? According to the National Economic and Development Authority, the Philippine President Duterte issued Executive Order No. 27 directing all government agencies including Government Owned Corporations and the Local Government Units to exert every effort to fully implement the Philippine Development Plan 2017-2022. The plan includes implementation of priority strategies for agriculture, industry and services sectors. What this all mean? The current buzz word is modernisation. Modernisation of farming, modernisation to tackle environmental problems, modernisation of manufacturing, modernisation of the public service sector, modernisation of urban planning are just a few opportunities available for Australian companies who have advanced technologies to offer. In short, the Philippines is looking for new and advanced technologies to solve old problems and most importantly to keep up with its growing economic power in Asia. And Australia could offer a lot of these technologies.

To better respond to these opportunities and to better engage both parties (in the Philippines and in Australia), the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Australia Philippines has created a new role: Director (Innovation, Training and Industry Partnerships). The aim of the role is to raise awareness on the priority demand areas; engage with industries; and capability building.

I conclude by giving thanks to our members, our Board Members, our families and supporters. I encourage everyone here, if you are not yet a member, to support us by becoming a member. Be part of the movement to help trade and businesses thrive because I strongly believe that economic prosperity brings long lasting peace. The new world order is a sharing economy. Being part of the Chamber you will have the opportunity to Share. Learn and Connect. Share your dreams and successes; learn from others; and make proper connections for you and your business to grow and thrive.

With this I table my Report
Thank you.

Connie da Cunha
Chamber of Commerce and Industry Australia Philippines Inc

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