UK companies exploring possible investment in meat, machinery projects

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REUTERS

INQUIRIES from British companies have increased in the past six weeks mainly from meat and machinery companies, British Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Executive Director Chris Nelson said.

“We’ve had more inquiries in the last month to six weeks than we’ve had for a while,” he told ANC Tuesday.

He said that the increased interest was in part due to marketing efforts and the United Kingdom’s exit from the European Union.

“You gotta look at Brexit as well. Companies obviously have Brexit (in mind) so they’re obviously having to do a lot more paperwork or activities than before, and therefore I think they’re looking at other markets and opportunities,” he said in a phone interview.

The British meat industry, he told ANC, is interested in the country due to a year-long reduction of tariffs on pork imports done to address a supply shortage.

Inflation hit 4.5% in March, with meat prices posting 20.9% growth after an African Swine Fever outbreak caused a surge in pork prices.

“Obviously, there’s a one-year move to allow pork imports and there, the British industry, we have significant interest,” he said, confirming that there are British companies interested in exporting to the Philippines.

“What the British consumer likes (in meat) is actually the opposite of what the Filipino consumer (likes), so there’s a good mix in terms of opportunities… we see that as an opportunity to assist and also to bring down those prices.”

Agriculture groups have appealed against the tariff reduction, saying that it would hurt hog growers.

Mr. Nelson also said that British food and beverage, machinery, and safety and security businesses have been showing interest.

“We also have (interest) in terms of safety and security because obviously coronavirus has made changes in the workplace and we’re working with a company on that.”

He added in a phone interview that potential investments could start materializing towards the end of 2021.

The chamber has been supporting economic liberalization measures, including retail trade liberalization.

Mr. Nelson in October said that the British chamber continues to seek investors in the retail as well as the food and beverage sectors despite the pandemic, banking on the recovery of the economy in the long term. — Jenina P. Ibanez

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