The newly appointed Australian ambassador to the Philippines is seeking to strengthen the trade and economic ties between the Philippines and Australia, even as the two countries already enjoy a “very sound” relationship due to strong security, defense, and intelligence cooperation. Steven Robinson said there are currently 300 Australian companies in the country with interests in business process outsourcing, mining, gas, infrastructure, and finance, an aspect he wants to focus on. Robinson said that there is more to be done in terms of the trade relationship, adding that the ASEAN-Australia New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (FTA) also promotes a huge opportunity for investors in both countries. The country has become more attractive to Australian investors due to its 6.2% growth in 2018 and infrastructure program, Robinson said. Australia set aside about AUD85m (USD58.3m) as development assistance to the Philippines this year, 50% of which will be directed towards Mindanao for education, infrastructure, and governance.
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