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11/05/2012: GREATER MEMPHIS CHAMBER WELCOMES PHILIPPINE AMBASSADOR AND CO-CHAIR OF NATIONAL COMPETITIVENESS COUNCIL AT THEIR LUNCHEON AND BUSINESS SEMINAR

Ambassador Jose Cuisia addresses members and guests of the Greater Memphis Chamber at its International Council Luncheon.

11 MAY 2012, MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE. Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. served as the keynote speaker yesterday at a luncheon of the International Business Council (IBC) of the Greater Memphis Chamber (GMC).

John Moore, President and Chief Executive Officer of the GMC, welcomed the Ambassador and the rest of the Philippine delegation.  The IBC is a group that supports the local business community of the Chamber.  The IBC’s mission is to serve as a platform to increase international trade activity and foreign direct investment in Memphis, educate Memphis businesses in conducting international business, and drive economic development by interacting with foreign organizations.

In his remarks, Ambassador Cuisia presented the challenges and opportunities in the Philippines-U.S. trade and investment partnership.  He identified these as the continued slowdown in the global economy, strains in the Euro area, and the role of developing and emerging market economies in leading the world’s growth.  He cited the advancements in the Philippine economy under the Aquino administration and happily noted that at least 19 companies with offices in Memphis are also business locators in the Philippines, including FedEx, Drexel Chemical Company, Coca Cola, AT&T, Eli Lilly, and Hilton Hotel.  In 2011, Tennessee exported around $208 million in goods to the Philippines, while Philippines exported $414 million worth of goods to Tennessee.

Echoing the improved business sentiment in the Philippines was Mr. Guillermo Luz, Co-Chair of the National Competitiveness Council.  Earlier in the day, Mr. Luz served as a panelist at the IBC-GMC seminar on “Doing Business in the Philippines.”  He enumerated the fundamental changes taking place in the country, including President Benigno Aquino’s thrust towards good governance, educational reform, and inclusive growth.  He encouraged Memphis businessmen to seriously consider the Philippines for its highly trained workforce, improved investment procedures, strategic location, quality of life, and openness to foreigners.

Mr. Luz was joined in the panel by Ernest Strickland and Mark Herbison, Director and Senior Vice President for Economic Development of GMC, respectively, Marc Gurley of Coface North America, and Charles Ranado, Commercial Officer of the U.S. Commercial Services.  (END)