British envoy sees increased business between Phl and UK

Published by rudy Date posted on March 27, 2011

MANILA, Philippines – The British government’s 2011 budget will provide a firm basis for increased business between the Philippines and the United Kingdom (UK), it was learned.

British Ambassador to the Philippines Stephen Lillie said on Friday that this includes making Britain a more attractive business location for Philippine investors and entrepreneurs.

The 2011 budget was announced this week by the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne, who told the British parliament on March 23 that last year’s budget had been about rescuing the nation’s finances.

The challenge was now to move from rescue to recovery and reform.

He pledged to return the UK to sustainable, balanced growth and lasting prosperity by rebalancing the UK economy from unsustainable public spending towards exports and private-sector investment.

Lillie explained that the budget had been accompanied by the government’s “Plan for Growth,” based around four overarching ambitions.

These are: To create the most competitive tax system in the G20 group of major economies; to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business; to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy; and to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.

“Britain is the largest European investor in the Philippines, while bilateral trade between the two countries grew by 23 percent last year,” Lillie said.

“The measures outlined in the Plan for Growth should obviously build on this, as we encourage more British businesses to trade internationally. We’re also creating the conditions for more Philippine businesses to invest in the UK. We already have an open trading economy with flexible labor markets and a world-class research base for universities that are respected around the world. Now we’re bringing down the barriers that hold enterprise back, including by creating the most competitive tax system in the G20.”

The British envoy noted that Osborne had told Parliament that the UK corporate tax rate would come down to 23 percent by 2014 or 16 percent lower than the US, 11 percent lower than France and seven percent lower than Germany.

There will also be 11 enterprise zones across England, with simplified planning rules, superfast broadband and tax breaks for businesses.

Osborne told Parliament: “Let Britain be the home of enterprise in an age when people can invest all over the world.”

Lillie said the British government was showing its determination to reduce the deficit, while setting out a new model of economic growth, based on investment, manufacturing and exports.

“The message for businesses here in the Philippines could not be clearer,” he said: “Britain is open for business.” –Pia Lee-Brago (The Philippine Star)

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