News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

February 5, 2008

PREMIER TO FOCUS ON INCREASING IMMIGRATION, INVESTMENT WITH THE PHILIPPINES



A Manitoba mission to the Philippines will promote the province as a prime location for immigration and investment, introduce Manitoba businesses to new opportunities in the Philippines and further diversify Manitoba’s export markets, Premier Gary Doer said today.
 
The mission, which departs tomorrow, is part of regular visits to the Philippines by Manitoba immigration and trade officials. It will feature Doer leading discussions on immigration and investment, and include business, community and other leaders representing a range of companies, organizations and institutions.
 
“Immigration between Manitoba and the Philippines is an important part of our economy,” Doer said. “We are discussing ways to improve immigration with two key goals in mind – addressing
skilled-labour shortages here in Manitoba while also being sensitive to the needs of migrating workers. This means focusing on areas like worker protection, job training and permanent visas which allow individuals to move here with their families.”
 
More immigrants come to Manitoba from the Philippines than any other country, with Filipino newcomers accounting for more than 25 per cent of the province’s total immigration. Manitoba’s growing Filipino community now has nearly 50,000 residents.
 
“Manitoba has a strong Filipino community and it makes sense for us to build on the connections that already exist between our province and the Philippines,” added Doer, the second Manitoba premier to visit the Philippines since the mid 1990s. Former premier Gary Filmon travelled there in 1997.
 
Doer said the mission is also part of Manitoba’s broader strategy to increase and diversify its export markets. Manitoba’s non-United States exports increased eight per cent in 2006 over 2005, according to the latest data. Two-way trade between Manitoba and the Philippines totalled $29 million in 2006. 
 
“As we have seen recently, setbacks in other markets can have an impact here at home. It is important that we keep diversifying and growing the international markets with which we do business in order to cushion us against such setbacks.”
 
Manitoba has a diverse economy with strong sectors in agriculture, grain handling and nutraceuticals, advanced manufacturing, and aerospace and aviation. Manitoba will be looking for Filipino companies to partner with in these and other areas, Doer added.
 
It is estimated the premier’s travel costs will total approximately $4,000. The mission, which ends Feb. 13, will also include Wellington MLA Flor Marcelino, a member of Manitoba’s Filipino community and legislative assistant to Manitoba’s minister of culture, heritage, tourism and sport.
 
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