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Hotel Sofitel Brussels Europe, Brussels, Belgium
16 September 2014

(from RTVM)

President Benigno S. Aquino III began his business meetings in Brussels, Belgium with the Shell company officials led by Simon Henry (Chief Financial Officer, Royal Dutch Shell PLC), Edgar Chua (Country Chairman, Shell Companies in the Philippines), Sahala Sianipar (Asia-Pacific Government Relations, Royal Dutch Shell PLC) and Ramon del Rosario (Vice President for Communications, Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation).

Among the topics discussed in the meeting are the updates on Shell's investments in the Philippines such as the US$1 billion Malampaya Phases 2 and 3 Project which aims to address the natural decline in pressure from the Malampaya reservoir before 2016-2017 by installing new facilities to maintain the level of natural gas production. Malampaya-fueled power plants contribute 2,759 megawatts (MW) to the Luzon grid. The said project resulted in the creation of 1,400 new direct and about 6,000 indirect jobs in Subic, Olongapo and nearby provinces.

Another company investment is the Shell Tabangao Asset Renewal – Tabangao Refinery EURO IV Compliance Project in Batangas City with an estimate cost of US$150 million. This project will enable the existing Shell refinery to produce lower-sulfur diesel in compliance with EURO IV emission standards by January 2016.

Shell is also finalizing the construction of a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Import Terminal in Batangas City that will allow importation of LNG for power plants, transport, and commercial industries.

Likewise, it is expanding its construction of an Oil Import Terminal in Cagayan de Oro, Mindanao (North Mindanao Import Facility) in partnership with the Philippine Ports Authority (PPA). The project will allow bigger vessels to supply fuel directly to the Mindanao region and will increase employment from the current 500 personnel to around 700.

The second business meeting attended by President Benigno S. Aquino III in his Working Visit to the European Union and Belgium is with the company officials of Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation (HSBC) namely, Kevan Watts (Vice Chairman, HSBC Global Banking), Spencer Lake (HSBC Global Head of Capital Financing) and Jose Arnulfo Veloso (HSBC Philippines Chief Executive Officer).

Headquartered in London, United Kingdom, HSBC has around 6,600 offices in 80 countries and territories, providing banking and financial services to over 125 million customers worldwide.

The company started its operations in the Philippines in 1876 and currently has the following presence in the country – HSBC with seven foreign bank branches that earned US$220 million in revenues in 2013; HSBC Savings Bank (Philippines), Inc., a locally incorporated thrift bank with nine branches; HSBC Insurance Brokers (Philippines), Inc., a locally incorporated corporation that provides insurance brokerage services and has 1,251 employees; and HSBC Electronic Data Processing (Philippines), Inc. which has two Global Service Centers in Alabang and Quezon City, has 3,834 full-time employees and supports the needs of HSBC's global business services and functions.

In his last business meeting in Brussels as part of his Working Visit to the European Union and the Kingdom of Belgium, President Benigno S. Aquino III met with the officials of Asia House led by Michael Lawrence (Chief Executive) and Charlie Humphreys (House Director of Corporate Affairs).

Founded in 1996 in the United Kingdom (UK), Asia House is a non-profit, non-political, pan-Asian organization that aims to build dynamic links between the diverse communities of Europe and Asia. Its founding stakeholders are HSBC, Prudential and Standard Chartered.

Asia House has been collaborating with the Philippine government in raising the profile of the country to UK corporations and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) by organizing conferences that promote the Philippines as a trade and investment destination for UK businesses.

It is keen in developing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to focus on joint activities and events that will promote trade and investment between the Philippines and UK, but could also cover information sharing and other forms of promotion.

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