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PH, Australia Hold 5th Philippines-Australia Ministerial Meeting (PAMM) to Elevate Comprehensive Partnership

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From left to right: Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Hon. Dan Tehan MP; Minister for Foreign Affairs and Women Senator the Hon. Marise Payne; Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro L. Locsin, Jr.; Secretary of Trade and Industry Ramon M. Lopez during the 5th Philippines -Australia Ministerial Meeting (PAMM) held virtually on 23 August 2021

PASAY 25 August 2021 - The Philippines and Australia held the 5th Philippines-Australia Ministerial Meeting (PAMM) on 23 August 2021, as a highlight of the 75th anniversary of bilateral relations between the Philippines and Australia this year.

The Philippine side was led by Secretary of Foreign Affairs Teodoro L. Locsin Jr. and Secretary of Trade and Industry Ramon M. Lopez while the Australian delegation was headed by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Women Senator Marise Payne and Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Dan Tehan, MP.

In his opening remarks, Secretary Locsin highlighted that despite the COVID-19 pandemic, both countries have found ways to maintain and expand cooperation across the full range of our relations.”

Foreign Minister Payne said that the Philippines-Australia friendship “is anchored by shared democratic values, by “Mateship and Bayanihan”, and commitment to peace and prosperity. (Both countries) have an important multifaceted relationship, particularly reflected in our strong defense and security ties, our longstanding security program, the strength of our people-to-people links, the work that we do in trade, commercial and economic areas, underpinned by our Comprehensive Partnership.”

Cooperation is ongoing between the Philippines and Australia, under the “Partnerships for Recovery” framework. The Ministers acknowledged ongoing development cooperation initiatives, such as Australia’s support for the Philippines’ peace-building efforts in the BARMM and in responding to humanitarian crises, as well as promoting post-pandemic economic recovery.

The Foreign Ministers also reaffirmed both countries’ close engagement in the areas of security, counter-terrorism and in the management of other non-traditional security threats such as cybersecurity, as well as both countries’ mutual interest to ensure regional stability. Maritime security was also a focus of discussion, including the creation of new bilateral maritime cooperation mechanisms and the upgrade of maritime law enforcement and domain awareness capabilities.

Secretary Lopez and Trade Minister Tehan underscored the role of the PAMM as an important mechanism to foster greater collaboration on two-way trade flows, creating conditions for mutual investment and for businesses to flourish, as well as cooperation in the multilateral trading system. Both sides agreed to work closely to resolve lingering market access issues and the elimination of unnecessary barriers to trade.

Australia is a significant economic partner of the Philippines, with US$3.6 billion in bilateral trade in 2019, and a total investment stock in the Philippines of A$7.2 billion. There are over 300 Australian companies operating in the Philippines, employing thousands of Filipinos in the business process outsourcing, infrastructure, banking, telecommunications, energy and education sectors.

As a commitment under the Joint Declaration of the Philippines-Australia Comprehensive Partnership, the four ministers/secretaries endorsed the Philippines-Australia Plan of Action 2021-2022, as a significant step towards the elevation of bilateral relations into a strategic partnership in the near future. END

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