PH strengthens partnership in construction sector with UAE

(From left) DPWH Secretary Roger Mercado, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry Secretary General Hamid Mohammed Bin Salem, and Presidential Communications Operations Office Secretary Martin Andanar

Revitalized business relationships between the Philippines and Middle East in the construction sector took off during the recently conducted Philippines – United Arab Emirates High Level Construction and Related Engineering Services Roundtable Meeting, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) reported.

The meeting was held on Feb 10 2022 in Kempinski Hotel Mall of Emirates, Dubai.

During the roundtable meeting, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez highlighted the Philippines’ expertise in construction.

“Since the 1970s, the Philippines has been a major corporate exporter of technical and managerial expertise in construction, contributing largely to the economic development of Filipinos, bringing foreign exchange earnings and huge employment opportunities,” the trade chief said.

The Trade Secretary noted on the benefit of partnering or outsourcing to Filipino construction companies instead of hiring individual construction workers, which relieves Emirati companies of the pressure of tedious business processes.

POCB Chairman Sid Consunji elaborated that through the Philippine Overseas Construction Board, the Philippines would be able to bring back the glory of the 1970s by promoting and developing Filipino companies in the construction and related engineering services, including architecture and design, in the overseas market.

Emaar Properties, one of the largest and prominent property developers in the UAE, in a virtual business meetings held in December 2021 noted that while many Filipino engineers and skilled workers are employed in the country, they would be very happy to see Filipino construction and A&E firms taking part in the UAE construction market and would love to work with them.

Federation of UAE Chambers of Commerce and Industry Secretary General Hamid Mohammed Bin Salem pointed out that Filipinos need to be more active in order to take part in the Middle East construction market.

Salem added that while Filipinos are known for their politeness, they must be aggressive in collaborating with UAE and other countries, and towards this end, suggests a more frequent exchange of visits between both countries, focused on the construction and infrastructure sectors.

Expressing keen interest to see Philippine corporate exporters of construction and related engineering services participate in the UAE market, LC&Partners Project Management & Engineering, Dubai Properties, Khatib & Alahi Consolidated Engineering Company, City Creek Construction, Emaar Development PJSC, DC Pro Engineering LLC, WJ Groundwater Dubai, Dubai Municipality, National Engineering Bureau, Dubai Department of Municipalities and Transport, and the UAE Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc., and the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, among others, engaged in meaningful discussions with government and business representatives of both countries.

The construction delegation, led by Chairperson of the Construction Industry Authority of the Philippines (CIAP) and DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez, together with CIAP Alternate Chairperson and Office of the Secretary Chief of Staff, Undersecretary Ireneo Vizmonte, and Philippine Overseas Construction Board (POCB) Chairman Engr. Isidro A. Consunji was joined by Filipino construction and related engineering service providers EEI Corporation, First Balfour, Inc., Nikkeru Plant Maintenance Solution, Aidea, Inc., Thaison Builder and Developer, Inc., Pronove Tai & Associates (Phils.), Inc. and San Antonio Water District.

The roundtable meeting is one of the highlight events during the Philippine Construction and Related Engineering Services Business Mission to the Dubai Expo 2020 co-organized by the Philippine Overseas Construction Board and Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Dubai.