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Building better trade and economic relations between PH and AUS

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Benjie de Ubago
Benjie de Ubago is a writer contributor to several publications. She was awarded the Premier’s Multicultural Media Lifetime Achievement Award in NSW. Check out www.filipin-oz.com for more of her articles.

As we celebrate the 75th Anniversary Relations between the Philippines and Australia this year, it would be amiss not to acknowledge the contribution of the Philippine Australia Business Council (PABC) towards building and enhancing bilateral relations between both countries. 

The Philippines-Australia Business Council (PABC), originally known as The Philippines Australia Business Cooperation Committee (PABCC) was jointly organised in Manila, Philippines in July 1975 by Mr. Raul Boncan, then Chairman of the Philippine Chamber of Industries and Mr. David Sycip, then President of the Council of Economic Development. Since then, the PABC has become the official organisation designated by the Department of Trade and Industry to represent the interests of the private sector in the Philippines. In Australia, the Australia Philippines Business Council (APBC) is the PABC’s counterpart which was also established in July 1975. 

PABC logo

The PABC’s main goals include: to promote trade, economic and technical cooperation, and tourism between the Philippines and Australia; to establish a channel of communication with its counterpart in Australia and with other agencies and organisations concerned with the promotion of Philippine-Australian economic and business relations; to foster friendship and understanding between the business communities of the Philippines and Australia in general, and in particular, to establish closer cooperation in those areas which will enhance the growth of the Philippines.

Likewise, it maintains channels of communication with its Australian counterpart, the APBC, as well as with other agencies and organisations aligned with the promotion of bilateral business relations. PABC advocates for dialogues, trade missions and hosts visiting business delegates and dignitaries.

A Trade Agreement between the Philippines and Australia was signed on 16 June 1965 by Secretary of Foreign Affairs Mauro Mendez and Ambassador Wakeham Cutts. This was superseded by Trade Agreement signed 25 June 1975 by Trade Ministers Troadio T. Quiazon of the Philippines and Frank Crean of Australia. This agreement was ratified on 2 October 1979 by President Ferdinand Marcos and Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and led to the establishment of the Philippines – Australia Joint Commission.

Through the years, the PABC has made significant headways in the following areas:  

Mining Industry

The PABC was instrumental in the crafting of the Philippine Mineral Reporting Code (PMRC), the Philippine equivalent of the Joint Ore Reserves Code (JORC) of Australia. A Mining Road Show was organised in August 2005 for Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney, Australia to promote closer bilateral economic ties in the Mining sector. This was done in collaboration with the Chamber of Mines of the Philippines and with the support of AFCC Queensland and APBC.  

Northern Territory Expo 

In 1997 saw PABC’s participation at the expo and promoted exports of Philippine products. PABC was presented with “The Asian Business Award”, in recognition of its active support to the NT Government.

Agriculture – worked with the Philippines Dept of Agriculture and Australia NT Dept. of Primary Industry and Fisheries on the following projects, i.e. Small Farmer Beef Growing/Finishing Enterprise; Beef Industry Standards; Enhanced Trade Description System for Purchasing Feeder Cattle; Smallholder Dairy Industry Development; and Breeding Program.


The PABC has successfully managed to have the Philippine educational standards recognised in Australia. 

Skills Replenishment 

The PABC champions the view that Australia and other countries benefiting from Filipino skilled migration should contribute to training and replenishing said skills in the country.

Philippines – Australia Dialogue (PAD) 

Minister for Foreign Affairs Alexander Downer initiated it in 1997 to provide a forum to discuss practical recommendations on strengthening bilateral ties. It is held annually by the PABC and APBC jointly, in cooperation with the University of Asia and the Pacific and Griffith University. 

Regular meetings, business forums, and investment seminars are held regularly in collaboration with the Philippine Stock Exchange and other relevant Philippine government agencies. 

After 47 years, the Philippine Australian Business Council (PABC) continues to thrive and advocate for better trade and economic relations between the Philippines and Australia.

PABC, FVR, Former President Fidel V. Ramos
PABC, Former Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop

The current PABC Officers include Atty. Dennis A. Quintero (Chairman), Thomas G. Aquino (1st Vice President), Teodoro R. Villanueva (2nd Vice Chairman), Violy J. Searby (Treasurer) and Atty. Kimberly D. Bisnar (Corporate Secretary ). –

The PABC pioneers who paved the way and made it what it is today:

PABC Co-Founders – David Sycip (1975) and Raul A Boncan (1975).

Antonio V Enriquez II (2013-2017); Albert M G Garcia (2008-2013); Leo G Dominguez (2002-2008); Rene R Fuentes (2000-2002); ; Raul C Hernandez (1998-2000); Oscar de Venezia (1996-1998); Ricardo P Guevara (19920-1996); Violy Searby (Co-Chair) (1989 -1992); Rose Teodoro (Co-Chair) (1989-1992); Victor A Lim (1982-1989); Jose S Concepcion Jr (1977-1982); and Jovino S Lorenzo (1975-1977).  

Senior Advisers:  Ambassador Delia Domingo Albert, Minister Daryl Menzies, Minister Shane Stone, Sir Rupert Clarke, and Paul G Dominguez

For further information, check out the PABC website: https://pabc.org.ph or follow them on Facebook.


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