BEST INVESTMENT PLACE. Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez met with representatives of the EU-ASEAN Business Council delegation led by Jens Ruebbert , Managing Director of Landesbank Baden-Wurttemberg and Head and Vice President of the AsiaPacific Region EU- ABC's; Dom Lavigne Yara International Public Relations and Corporate Communications Director-Africa and Asia; Diana Edralin Managing Director, Roche Philippines; Noel Clehane BDO's Global Head of Regulatory and Public Policy and Member of the EU-ABC Board; Charlie Simpson , Airbus's Chief Representative in the Philippines and Cyrus Isles of Bayer in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. EU-ABC representatives said that European businesses found the Philippines to be the best investment destination in the world and conveyed their group's interest in expanding their business and trade relations with this country. MANILA - Representatives of the EU-ASEAN Business Council told Parliament Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez at their meeting Tuesday that the Philippines is a popular investment site for European Union businessmen. Six representatives from the EU's largest ever business delegation spoke enthusiastically about the country's strong economic performance and expressed their interest in expanding business and trade relations with the Philippines, according to a statement from the House of Representatives. Wednesday. The delegation consisted of 70 businessmen from 36 European multinational companies. Noel Clehane, Head of Global Regulatory and Public Policy at BDO and Member of the EU-ABC Board, informed Romualdez that they are meeting with EU lawmakers to press for a free trade agreement with the Philippines, among others. “We emphasized to them that this region , particularly the Philippines, is the most attractive region in the world for European businesses,” he added. Clehane said their excitement about job prospects in the Philippines stemmed from an annual survey they've been doing for the past eight years. As a result, he said, EU lawmakers are now "more vigilant" in exploring expanded trade relations with the Philippines. Meanwhile, Jens Ruebbert, Head of the delegation, Head and Managing Director of the AsiaPacific Region of Landesbank Baden-Württemberg and Vice President of EU-ABC, also noted the strong growth and solid economic fundamentals of the Philippines. Philippines' Gross Domestic Product grew by 7.2 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022, a full-year growth of 7.6 percent in 2022 and grew by 6.4 percent in the first quarter of 2023. . “This is extremely well accepted in the business community,” Ruebbert said. He noted that inflation is in a downward trend, the peso is stable unlike currencies in other countries, and the interest rate environment is "an equation of what is happening in the world". “Probably the highest hike in the area has helped you keep things going and under control. I think this is the basis that motivates the European Union and other foreign companies to invest more and further expand trade with the Philippines." Ruebbert also noted in a separate meeting with Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Governor Felipe Medialla on Monday that the latter "shows very nicely and clearly that the economic path and recovery path the Philippines is on is on a very, very good path." “Forty percent of the world's supply chain passes through or at least near your territorial waters. So the geopolitical reasons for doing this are important; economic reasons are compelling,” noted Ruebbert. Other members of the EU-ABC group meeting with Romualdez include Diana Edralin, Managing Director of Roche Philippines; Dom Lavigne, Yara International Public Relations and Corporate Communications Director - Africa and Asia; Charlie Simpson, Chief Representative of Airbus Philippines; and Cyrus Bayer Islands. Among others, the group has expressed its willingness to cooperate with the Philippine government in various fields such as healthcare, agriculture, renewable energy and transportation. The EU-ABC mission aims to follow up on the gains made during President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.'s successful visit to Brussels last December and to highlight the importance of the Philippines as a trade and investment destination for European Industry. The Speaker praised the EU-ABC's efforts and briefed them on Congressional initiatives to "make the Philippines a more welcoming host for business investment and economic activity", in line with the policies of the Marcos administration. “We're here to see how we can help. We want to support, we want to help. Romualdez assured the EU delegation. Navotas Representative Toby Tiangco, Camiguin Representative Jurdin Jesus Romualdo, Senior Vice President Aurelio Gonzales Jr., Surigao Del Sur Representative Johnny Pimentel, Pangasinan Representative Rachel Arenas and Majority Leader Manuel Jose Dalipe were also present at the meeting.