Austria, Cote d'Ivoire Officials Here to Boost Economic Cooperation
Byline: CHARISSA M. LUCI
Austria Federal Minister for Economy and Labor Martin Bartenstein and Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) Foreign Minister Youssouf Bakayoko have arrived in the country to strengthen economic cooperation with the Philippines, particularly in areas of energy security, technology exchange, and development assistance, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said yesterday.
Both officials were on trade mission to seek more investments, particularly in power generation, infrastructure, communications, environmental management, medical equipment, clean energy technologies, and energy efficiency to explore avenues for cooperation in development assistance.
"We would also like to explore the area of services for hospitals with key projects in medical supplies, installation of emergency phones, and communication equipment between airlines and air tower as well as building quality bridges," Dr. Barstenstein said during the dinner hosted by Austrian Ambassador to the Philippines Herbert Jaeger in Forbes Park in Makati City.
He arrived in the country yesterday for a one-day trade mission leading high-powered business delegation representing 13 of the biggest Austrian companies forging economic partnership with Southeast Asian countries, including the Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, and Thailand.
Aside from the business delegation, Dr. Barstenstein, one of the top Austrian federal officials to visit the Philippines since the 1980s, is accompanied by Economy and Labor Vice Minister Josef Mayer and Dr. Richard Schenz, vice president of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber (WKA).
He met with President Arroyo, several government officials, business industry leader Washington Sycip, and business groups, including the Makati Business Club and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
Barstenstein said though the political landscape is an "absolute prerequisite" for Austrian investment, he remained confident that the Philippines is still an investment niche for western investors following the country's 7.3 percent growth in the economy.
"Political stability is an absolute prerequisite for investment. We need growth and perspective, on one hand, and good economic situation, on the other," he said.
Among the government officials met by the top Austrian official were Environment and Natural Resources Secretary Lito Atienza, Public Works and Highways Secretary Hermogenes Ebdane Jr. …