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OEA UK foreign secretary

29 January 2014 -  Right Honorable William Hague MP, Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom (UK), will visit the Philippines from January 29 to 30 upon the invitation of Philippine Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario. Secretary Hague is the highest incumbent British official to visit the country in the last 25 years.

Secretary Hague will call on President Benigno Aquino III and Vice President Jejomar Binay, to be followed by a bilateral meeting with Secretary del Rosario, who is hosting lunch in his honor. One of the topics to be discussed is UK’s participation in the reconstruction program for the communities affected by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan). The UK is among the biggest donors providing generous humanitarian aid and relief goods. The UK Disasters Emergency Committee, a group of 14 leading aid charities appealed to the British public which raised a sizeable amount of assistance.

Other topics are UK’s role in the implementation of the Mindanao peace agreement, extradition and mutual legal assistance, combat against transnational crimes and expanding cooperation in trade, investments and tourism.

The British Foreign Secretary will also meet prominent Filipino businessmen and CEOs to exchange views on how to further expand business partnerships between Philippine and British companies.

Secretary Hague has chosen Manila as the venue to deliver a speech on “United Kingdom and the Asian Century,” unveiling UK’s foreign policy directions in the region. The choice of Manila is significant because it is the major foreign policy speech on Asia by the UK. Government officials including members of the Congress, diplomatic corps, academe and civil society have been invited to attend this event, in tandem with the British Food Month organized by the British Embassy and its partners.

Philippines-UK relations were established on 04 July 1946. Total trade between the two countries amounted to US$ 928 million in 2012, of which US$ 657 million worth of products were exported by the Philippines to the UK. The Philippines enjoys favorable balance of trade with the UK.  There are an estimated 200,000 Filipinos living and working in the UK, 70% are in health and care-giving professions, IT and engineering, about 20% are second-generation Filipinos, while 10% are in the domestic services.  END