Aquino to fly to Britain to woo investors

MANILA — President Benigno Aquino III will make his first official trip to the United Kingdom on June 4 to 6, and he is expected to bring home investment pledges from some of the top companies there, an official said Wednesday.

He will meet with Prime Minister David Cameron at 10 Downing Street, where they are expected to discuss political and economic cooperation, Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for European Affairs Elizabeth Buensuceso said.

She said the agenda will include Britain’s participation in the International Contact Group for the Philippine government’s peace talks with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front.

“Several business meetings have also been lined up for the President with top British investors, who have an interest in doing business in the Philippines and participate in the Aquino administration’s Public-Private Partnership program,” Buensuceso said.

“The Philippines will be in the radar of European investors.”

Queen Elizabeth will also be hosting a luncheon for Mr. Aquino, but it will be presided by the Lord Mayor of London, David Wootton, at Lancaster House, where several business agreements are expected to be signed.

The President will also meet with the Duke of York Prince Andrew as the official representative of Queen Elizabeth, who will be celebrating her Diamond Jubilee during Mr. Aquino’s visit.

The President will also meet with the representatives of the 250,000-strong Filipino community in the United Kingdom, Buensuceso said.

Wooton, who visited Manila last week, has said three British companies engaged in mass transport systems—Balfour Beatty, Halcrow and SKM-Colin Buchanan—are eying investments in the Philippines through the Aquino administration’s PPP.

He said the British investors were interested in “railways, airports and ports.” They may also invest in water management, waste disposal, sewage systems, power plants and renewable-energy sources, he said.

Mr. Aquino flies to Los Angeles on June 6 for a meeting with investors and the representatives of the Filipino-American community there before proceeding to Washington DC to meet with US President Barack Obama.

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