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10 March 2016

ATLANTA, GA – Jumping off from the success of the Philippine Business and Investment Forum in New York last week, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. brought the message of a resurgent Philippine economy to one of the most vibrant cities in the south – Atlanta.

On March 08, the Ambassador met with Mr. Gary Black, Agriculture Commissioner of Georgia, to assess prospects for trade and cooperation in several areas, including food manufacturing and safety, agricultural research, and distribution of agricultural commodities.

Agriculture is Georgia’s oldest and largest industry and farming remains the foundation of the state’s economic well-being. Organized in 1874, the Department of Agriculture in Georgia was the first to be established in the United States.

“Georgia, being a world leader in agriculture, would be a valuable partner for the Philippines. Its experiences can provide additional insight into growing the sector.  The Philippines also have a lot to offer to Georgia’s companies. I highlighted to Commissioner Black the significant investments we have made in agriculture and agribusiness to make them internationally competitive,” Ambassador Cuisia said.

On March 09, Ambassador Cuisia exchanged views with Mr. Dennis Lockhart, the President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, on manifold issues such as the state of the Philippine and US economies, the future of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), remittances, and the impact of the creation of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) on the Asia-Pacific region.

As the former chief of the now defunct Central Bank of the Philippines—the precursor of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas—Ambassador Cuisia was able to engage Mr. Lockhart into an in-depth discussion on monetary policy. The two central bankers agreed that interest rates represent only one tool in the box and that much is demanded from the fiscal side to stabilize any economy.

The envoy likewise touched base with the executives of The Coca-Cola Company, which continues to be a strong source of employment and income for host communities in the Philippines.

“We note Coca-Cola’s leadership for their commitment to invest US$1 billion in the Philippines over the last five years, and its expansion plans that are expected to further benefit the Philippine economy," Ambassador Cuisia remarked.

Mr. Anthony Quan, Coca-Cola’s Director of Strategic Initiatives, said that Coca-Cola remains upbeat about the economic trajectory of the Philippines. He likewise reiterated his company’s strong commitment to the country.

Ambassador Cuisia was also interviewed by Global Atlanta, a widely circulated publication “devoted to tracking Atlanta’s rise as a center for international business, education and culture.”

In response to the question of how the Philippines has been able to sustain a relatively high level of economic growth, the Ambassador cited three factors: 1) remittances from overseas Filipinos; 2) growth of the IT-BPM sector; 3) the Government’s substantial investment in developing infrastructure.

The meetings were arranged through the offices of Mr. Raoul Donato, the Philippines’ longtime Honorary Consul General in the state of Georgia. Ms. Pia Valeriano, President of the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia, was a member of the Ambassador’s delegation.

Atlanta’s metropolitan area constitutes the 10th largest metro economy in the United States and the largest in the south.  It also ranks third among cities in the US with the highest number of Fortune 500 companies headquartered in the metro area. ###

10 March 2016

Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. and Agriculture Commissioner of Georgia Gary Black meet in Atlanta on 08 March 2016. 

10 March 2016

Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. and Mr. Dennis Lockhart, President and CEO of The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta after their meeting on 09 March 2016.

10 March 2016

Meeting with The Coca-Cola Company executives: (L-R) Pia Valeriano, President of the Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Georgia; John UyHam, M&A Councel, Corporate Legal Finance, Coca-Cola; Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr.; Anthony Quan, Director, Strategic Initiatives, Global Finance, Coca-Cola; Jennifer Ragland, Director, International Government Relations and Public Affairs; and Philippine Honorary Consul General Raoul Donato.

10 March 2016

Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. being interviewed by Global Atlanta Publisher Phil Bolton (center) and Editor-in-Chief Trevor Williams (rightmost) on 09 March 2016.