France out to boost trade ties with Philippines

9th March 2005, Comments 0 comments

MANILA, March 9 (AFP) - French foreign trade minister Francois Loos on Wednesday vowed to boost trade ties with the Philippines, saying French companies needed to improve operations to compete with its European competitors.

MANILA, March 9 (AFP) - French foreign trade minister Francois Loos on Wednesday vowed to boost trade ties with the Philippines, saying French companies needed to improve operations to compete with its European competitors.

Loos, on a three-day visit to Manila, led a high-level delegation of 20 French businessmen to explore possible tie-ups with local firms.

"We are at a level now where we can't afford any competition," Loos told a business gathering, stressing that France's traditional competitor Germany had become one of the world's leading exporters.

"Our main objective is to make it clear to all (French) companies to be at the top," he said, adding that this could only be achieved with greater linkages with foreign firms, including those in the Southeast Asian region.

Bilateral trade between the Philippines and France has reached some EUR 767 million (USD 1 billion), according to the latest data.

Among the top French exports to the Philippines are medicines, telecommunications and electronics products, while the Philippines exports mainly electronics equipment and garments to France.

France is the Philippines' 9th biggest investor and was the 6th biggest aid donor from 1992 to 2003, official government figures showed.

About 100 French companies with a combined investment of some USD 1.6 billion employ a Filipino workforce of about 8,000 in the country.

These include telecommunications giant Alcatel and energy firm Alstom.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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