"The Philippines could look to the UK as their strongest partner in Europe."
Statement following the meeting in Downing Street today between the Prime Minister, the Foreign Secretary and Jeremy Browne and President Aquino of the Philippines.
A Downing Street spokesperson said:
The Prime Minister welcomed President Aquino and his Cabinet to Downing Street and said that he was pleased that he had chosen the UK as his first visit to Europe. He said that this was a sign of a strong relationship between the two countries and that the Philippines could look to the UK as their strongest partner in Europe given their shared outlook on trade and investment.
The Prime Minister pressed the case for British companies bidding for contracts, especially in the aerospace and infrastructure sectors. President Aquino said he was confident that there would be opportunities as the Philippines sought to grow its tourism sector and said that they were also investing heavily in transport infrastructure.
The Prime Minister also raised the issue of alcohol tariffs, in particular their detrimental effect on Scottish whisky exports. President Aquino said the matter was currently in the lower house and he hoped it would be resolved soon.
They also talked about their shared outlook on foreign issues in the region, in particular on Burma. The Prime Minister praised President Aquino for his efforts to tackle corruption in the country and also made clear that the Pilipino community made a very welcome contribution to life in the UK.