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APBC hosts cocktails and conversations for Pacific Business Mission delegates

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The Australia Philippines Business Council, an organization dedicated to maximizing the potential of trade and investment between Australia and the Philippines, hosted a cocktail event for the Pacific Business Mission delegates on 16 August 2022 in Forbes Park.

The 50-member delegation from across Australia was in the Philippines for a 5-day visit to explore trade, tourism, and investment opportunities and other areas of collaboration with key government agencies, business organizations and private sector representatives.

The business delegation was led by Philippine Ambassador to Australia Her Excellency Ma. Hellen B. De La Vega. It is the very first Australian business mission to visit the Philippines at the onset of the Marcos administration and will include investment briefings, business-to-business (B2B) meetings and a visit to the economic zones in Clark, Bataan, and Subic.

From Left: Mr. Richard Sisson, Australian Charge’ d’Affaires ad interim, Philippine Ambassador to Australia Hellen De La Vega, Department of Energy and Natural Resources (DENR) Secretary Toni Yulo-Loyzaga and Australian Trade Commissioner Christopher Lim
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Richard and Debbie Croaker from Profitmasters

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From left: Dennis Quintero – Chairman PABC, Joey Leviste, Rafael Toda – Director APBC, Tessa Prieto Valdez, Stanley Ng – President and COO Philippine Airlines, Bobby Lim – Undersecretary of Department of Transportation (Aviation)
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Rene Benitez – Chairman, Amalgamated Investment Bancorp, Ambassador Hellen De La Vega, Hon. Zoe Bettison – South Australian Minister for Tourism and Multicultural Affairs, Raffy Toda, Director APBC
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Michelle Tuason – Arthaland
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Jonathan Nisperos – San Miguel Yamamura
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Michelle Gariva – STI, Rafa Toda – Go Gridless Philippines and Aster Araneta – Esguerra & Blanco
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Brad Pape – ICEN with Perth based Jenny Ryall, Melissa Aguasa and Adam Strauch
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Ma. Corina Reyes – First Secretary and Consul, Philippine Embassy Canberra joins Philippines’ Trade Representative to Australia Alma Argayoso and Ambassador Hellen De La Vega
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Richard Sisson – Australian Charge’ d’Affairs ad interim. Aileen Zosa – CEO, Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA) and Joey Leviste – Philippine Special Advisor – APBC
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Rebecca Hall – Commissioner, Victorian Government Trade and Investment – Southeast Asia with APBC Raffy Toda
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APBC Director George Votava with Stefan Vermeulen and Jennifer Santos from DVP Australia

The cocktail event was a relaxed Aussie affair which allowed the delegates an opportunity to network after an extensive first two days of presentations by the different Philippine government departments which included Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Board of Investments (BOI), Philippine Export Zone Authority (PEZA), Department of Tourism (DOT), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Agriculture (DA), Bases Conversion Development Authority (BCDA), Clark Development Corporation (CDC), Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB), Tourism Infrastructure and Enterprise Zone Authority (TIEZA), Bataan Provincial Government, Hermosa Ecozone Industrial Park (HEIP), and Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SMBA).

“Our two countries have been trading partners for more than 75 years and this relationship is set to strengthen even further with the ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand Free Trade Agreement (AANZFTA) upgrade and the Philippine ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement,” Rafael Toda, APBC Director and Vice President for Queensland said.

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“This Pacific Business Mission aligns with the AANZFTA and RCEP objectives and those of APBC and our Philippine counterpart, the Philippines Australia Business Council (PABC). I am confident that the evening’s networking activity will identify many new collaborative opportunities, and delegates can count on the APBC and PABC to assist in bringing these to fruition,” he added.

Guests at the cocktail event included Department of Environment and Natural Resources Secretary  Hon. Toni Yulo, Department of Transportation for Aviation U/Sec Hon. Roberto Co Lim; Charge d’ Affaires of the Australian Embassy Richard Sisson; The BCDA CEO Aileen Zosa; South Australian Minister for Tourism and Multicultural Affairs – The Hon Zoe Bettison, South Australian Regional Director for ASEAN – Cathryn Carlson; Victorian Trade and Investment Commissioner for Southeast Asia – Rebecca Hall, Government and Strategic Partnership Director, Victorian – Raymond Peter and Chairman of the PABC – Dennis Quintero

Meanwhile, guests form the Philippine business sector included Robert Lehman, president of Amalgamated Investment Banking Corporation, Jonathan Nisperos, general manager for San Miguel Yamamura Packaging Corporation, Stanly Ng – President and COO Philippine Airlines, Michelle Tuason from Arthaland, the leading sustainable property development company in the Philippines and the Inquirer’s very own Tessa Prieto Valdez. 

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