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French firms keen on PH despite Marawi situation: envoy

MANILA, July 18 — More French companies are keen on making their foray into the Philippines or expand their existing operations, as the two countries enhance their bilateral trade and economic relations, an envoy has said.

Ambassador of France to the Philippines Thierry Mathou said they look forward to developing cooperations with the Philippines in the infrastructure, transportation and energy sectors.

“So obviously, so far, I don’t see any impact of the situation in Marawi (City) on the way our companies want to develop their activities in the Philippines,” he told reporters. “Obviously, this country is booming. It’s a large market.”

As the two countries celebrate the 70th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations this year, the ambassador said their trade and economic ties have been “developing rapidly”.

“French companies, which are already here in the Philippines, where they provide thousands of jobs to Filipino workers, are eager to be more active and more present in the Philippines,” he said.

Mathou pointed out that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) have also been very active in the market, as indicated by the success of the French Tech network.

Apart from enhancing cultural and economic links, he said the two countries also signed a defense cooperation agreement.

“We have all the elements on the table to really implement very ambitious relation. So I’m very confident, very confident,” he added.

Meanwhile, the ambassador reiterated his country’s readiness to intensify intelligence sharing with the Philippine government to fight terrorism and extremism.

“It’s a concern for all of us so I think we have to discuss, we have to exchange intelligence… This (terrorism) issue is a global issue we all have to face,” added Mathou. (Leslie D. Venzon/PNA)

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