Australian trade, tourism minister arrives in Manila


AUSTRALIAN Trade and Tourism Minister, Senator Don Farrell arrived in the Philippines Thursday (April 20) for a six-day working visit in a bid to elevate the bilateral relationship between Manila and Canberra into a “Strategic Partnership.”

Australia is keen to identify more opportunities where it can increase business in the Philippines such as in the sectors of mining, tourism, education and renewable energy.

Farrell will meet with Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual and National Economic and Development Authority Secretary Arsenio Balisacan.

He will also meet business leaders, travel, and tourism industry representatives to discuss how to boost two-way trade, investment, and tourism between the countries.

“The Philippines are among the top emerging markets for international visitation to Australia and we hope our strong bilateral relationships with both nations will see continued growth in two-way travel,” the Australian Embassy said in a statement.

Before coming to the Philippines, Farrell also traveled to Vietnam to also boost bilateral economic relations.

“My trip signifies the Albanese Government’s commitment to strengthening and diversifying our economic relationships across the region,” he said in a separate statement.

Vietnam and the Philippines are considered “top emerging markets” for international tourists.

“We hope our strong bilateral relationships with both nations will see continued growth in two-way travel,” he added.

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs said Farrell’s visit is the third by a high ranking official of the Australian government in 2023 alone. 

Last February, Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Defense Richard Marles went to Manila and met President Marcos Jr., Vice President Sara Duterte and Defense Senior Undersecretary and Officer-in-Charge Carlito Galvez Jr. 

Then a month later, Australia’s Special Envoy for Southeast Asia Nicholas Moore also flew to Manila and met with Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin, as well as secretaries Pascual and Diokno.

“These visits reflect the strong bilateral relations between the Philippines and Australia, as the two countries work towards the elevation of their relations to a higher plane this year,” the DFA said.

Manila and Canberra are celebrating 77 years of friendship this year, “highlighting deep and broad cooperation in a wide range of areas.”

On Tuesday, during the Australia New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) Day, Farrell will attend a dawn service at the National Heroes Cemetery in Manila in honor of fallen Australian and New Zealand soldiers in wars, peacekeeping operations and other conflicts all over the world.