Subic spurs investor interests in Dubai trade mission

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SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) has successfully pushed the Subic Bay Freeport Zone as a sustainable and competitive business and industrial center in the Philippines during a recent trade mission in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

As a result, Subic has sparked strong investor interest in the fields of cargo logistics, renewable energy, aviation, vaccine manufacturing, and compliance solutions during business meetings held in the emirate city of Dubai on February 9 to 14, said SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma in a report to President Duterte.

Among the groups that Eisma discussed business potentials in Subic with are the Abu Dhabi Ports, a logistics operator and manager of industrial zones and ports in the UAE, and the Philippine Business Council of Dubai and Northern Emirates, which promotes cooperation among business communities in Dubai, the Northern Emirates and the Philippines.

Eisma also offered the Subic Bay International Airport (SBIA) as an alternative hub for the UAE flag-carrier Emirates during a meeting with Orhan Abbas, the firm’s senior vice president for the Far East. “This might increase the number of commercial flights from Dubai to the Philippines and from the Philippines to Dubai,” she added.

During the Dubai sojourn, Eisma likewise attended the Philippine Country Business Briefing headed by Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez on Feb. 11, and participated the following day in the Philippine National Day, which was attended by thousands of Filipinos in Dubai.

“We have high hopes that Subic got the attention of major industry members in the UAE, especially with the endorsement we received from the Philippine Business Council of Dubai and the Northern Emirates,” Eisma said on Tuesday.

SBMA Senior Deputy Administrator for Operations Ronnie Yambao, who joined Eisma in Dubai, said the Subic team briefed businessmen and venture capitalists on trade opportunities in Subic during the weeklong mission and promoted it as a premier investment destination in the Southeast Asian Region.

On Feb. 9, Eisma’s team had a productive meeting with Suchit Kapoor, business director of the Abu Dhabi Ports Company, and Dogus Durhan, business manager of the Abu Dhabi Ports Group, and discussed cargo expansion, integrated technology, and a business model design through partnership.

Next, Eisma met with Jon Salazar, founder and president of Gazelle Wind Power, a Dublin-based producer of hybrid floating offshore wind platform, for a possible project to drive Subic’s renewable energy program.

Eisma then went on to talk with Stephan Thomas, senior director and CFO of Group 42 (G42), an artificial intelligence and cloud computing company with interests in healthcare, finance, oil and gas, aviation, and hospitality. G42 was looking for partners for a joint venture to manufacture and distribute Covid-19 vaccines in the Philippine and the Southeast Asian region.

Following that, the SBMA team met with Angeline Rivera, sales and marketing manager of Prime Group, a leading quality and compliance solutions provider in Asia, Middle East and Africa. Rivera said their company is considering Subic for its expansion program.

Lastly, Eisma coordinated promotion of the Subic Bay Freeport in the UAE with Prof. Gau G. Raganit, chairman of the Philippine Business Council of Dubai and Northern Emirates, which promotes trade among business communities in Dubai, the Northern Emirates and the Philippines.