Canadian businessmen are actively looking for opportunities in the Philippines, according to Canadian Ambassador to the Philippines John T. Holmes.
The Canadian diplomat said Canadian investors are becoming increasingly interested in investing in the business process outsourcing (BPO) sector.
“The BPOs, I’m finding out more Canadian companies are interested in investing here,” Holmes told Manila journalists at his residence, according to a report by the Business World newspaper.
The ambassador expressed hope that some specialized Canadian businesses can participate in the government’s big push to develop the country’s infrastructure.
“The subcontracting in areas of safety, security, engineering, these kinds of things,” he said, adding that Canada has investment pools that can be tapped.
Holmes has previously been posted to Asia, having served as Ambassador to Indonesia, with concurrent accreditation to Timor-Leste and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).
Prior to his arrival in Manila last year, he headed the Canadian Embassy in Ankara, Turkey.
Canada is the Philippines’ sixth top partner for development assistance and a major trading partner.
Holmes said he welcomes more immigration to Canada, the Business World reported.
“We want to see more Filipinos going to school in Canada, graduate, stay in Canada a couple of years, help our economy and then come back and help Filipinos,” said Holmes.
Close to 700,000 Filipinos are currently working and living in Canada.
Senior Trade Commissioner of the Embassy of Canada Michel R. Belanger said Canada would like to increase bilateral trade between the two countries and might be pursuing a free trade agreement (FTA) with the Philippines sometime in the future.
“First step, we’re looking at ASEAN, but I’m sure that afterwards we’ll look at other opportunities and given that there was an interest with the Philippines and given that there’s a large Filipino (population) in Canada, I’m sure that we’ll look at a free trade agreement with the Philippines,” said Belanger.
Canada is currently trying to forge an FTA with the ASEAN.
Bilateral trade between the two countries now amounts to $2.2 billion, according to Belanger in the Business World report.
Canada exports to the Philippines mainly agricultural goods such as wheat, pork and beef. It imports Philippine electronic products.