Trade and Investment Minister Andrew Robb has returned to the Philippines this week with a business delegation focussed on infrastructure before joining counterparts in Boracay for APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) talks.

The business delegates include some of Australia’s leading infrastructure specialists representing construction and design, legal and engineering companies. “The size of the infrastructure task here is substantial compounded by the devastation of Typhoon Yolanda in 2013, but the response of the Philippine government has been impressive,” Mr Robb said.

“The delivery of infrastructure is one of Australia’s strengths and our businesses are looking for opportunities to deepen existing relationships to help get projects built.”

The APEC meetings (24-25 May) will focus on the economic challenges and opportunities in the Asia-Pacific region. “APEC is the premier economic forum in the Asia-Pacific and an important element of Australia’s approach to creating an environment that supports jobs and growth – both within Australia and across the region,” Mr Robb said.

As the first ministerial gathering of the year, the meetings are an important milestone in the APEC calendar and will establish members’ commitments for 2015.

In this year’s Budget, the Government announced measures to stimulate investment by small business, to help attract new foreign investment and to promote the benefits of our landmark free trade agreements with China, Korea and Japan.

“This is compatible with the objectives Australia is actively pursuing through APEC such as helping to foster the participation of small and medium-sized enterprises in regional and global markets and value chains and working towards the establishment of a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific,” Mr Robb said.

“APEC’s work to address ‘behind the border’ barriers to services, trade and investment will also lead to new opportunities for Australian businesses in areas such as banking, insurance, professional services, telecommunications and education.”

Mr Robb said APEC was well-placed to champion these reforms and help to shield the Asia-Pacific region from global risks and to strengthen its capacity as a global economic powerhouse.

During the Philippines visit, Mr Robb will also address the Australia and New Zealand Chamber of Commerce today and meet with Australian-certified lifeguards at Boracay Beach, who demonstrate the reach of Australia’s world-class services sector.

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