Ross Koffel was delighted to welcome our IR Global colleagues from the Philippines to our office in Sydney on the first of December.
Eduardo Pangan and Gilbert Viloria of Mendoza & Pangan, with offices in Manila, were in Sydney for conferences and took the opportunity to visit and have a worthwhile exchange of ideas as to building the relationship between our two firms, as well as reaching out to our associates in the Asia Pacific region.
Some of the issues discussed included IP, Employment Law, set up for foreign investment, Construction Law, and local shipping costs and charges that are being reduced by breaking up the local shipping cartels in The Philippines.
We both have broad full service practices, and we considered the structure of comparative laws for Crime, Commercial Law and Civil Law as well as the migration regulations between our two jurisdictions. We spoke of their local village legal solutions in The Philippines and generally as to alternate dispute resolution and their local mediation regime.
The litigation process in The Philippines is American based and of course Australia is British based. The Philippines is also now the only country, (other than The Vatican City), where there is no divorce.
It was interesting to note that with a population of 100 million people their people are one of their greatest resources. Labour is inexpensive compared to say, China and Thailand, it has a democratically elected government and is considered a stable jurisdiction for investment. Call Centres and back office support are a major growth industry along with bulk office facilities to accommodate them.
One of the areas where we considered a growth possibility was to look closer at the deregulation of trade in ASEAN countries, (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), and its free trade agreement with Australia and New Zealand. The association is made up of Brunei, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam and Thailand, all with massive populations and dynamic, growing commercial opportunities.
Both our firms have been members of IR Global for just a short time and it was agreed that this presented a great opportunity to consider what we can do to market our firms and create a synergy to not just generate work, and but to support the needs of our client base between our two jurisdictions. A win/win relationship