Strengthening French-Philippine Business Ties: Insights from CCI France-Philippines
The French Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) of the Philippines is a non-profit organization that serves as a platform for promoting and enhancing business relations between France and the Philippines. CCI France-Philippines provides various services and programs to its members, including business networking events, business matching services, market research, trade missions, and seminars and workshops. It also serves as a voice for the French business community in the Philippines by advocating for policies that support and promote business growth and development.
Established in 1988, the CCI France-Philippines is a member of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry Overseas Network (CCI France International), which is a global network of French Chambers of Commerce and Industry operating in more than 125 countries around the world. With that, why don’t you join me in learning more about CCI France-Philippines with its Managing Director, Ms. Maylis Charlat.
What’s it like to be able to lead in the business relations between France and the Philippines?
It is an honor to be able to serve the French-Philippine business community for 4 years now. We’ve seen tremendous work and achievements by the government and by the private sector. Last June 26, 2022, we celebrated the 75th anniversary of French-Philippine diplomatic relations. For the entire year, both countries celebrated this partnership through all aspects of the economy such as business and cultural events. For example, CCI France Philippines had a big gala last November and we were able to celebrate that with key actors, secretaires, and 500+ other VIPs.
As you may know, there are not many female leaders in the international relations scene. As one of the few female leaders in this field, what were the challenges you faced and how did you overcome these?
There are a lot of stereotypes given to female leaders such as myself, most especially since I am young. However, throughout the years, I learned to be respected and respect others as well. In the Chamber, it is important for us to empower and represent young women in the field and join the conversation. I am usually the youngest woman at the table for a lot of business meetings. CCI France-Philippines is actually a strong advocate for empowering young women to become leaders and involve themselves in industries.
What roles does CCI France Philippines play?
The French Chamber of Commerce has two missions: to help French companies invest in the Philippine market and vice-versa and to elevate the businesses here in the Philippines. This is an international mission and it helps that CCI France is present in over 125 countries across the globe. All stakeholders of the economy are members of CCI France and because of this, they can network with each other. This gives them the potential to create partnerships and connections and provides them with a bridge through the French Chamber.
With those missions at hand, our vision is to be the #1 partner of all the stakeholders that need to invest in each other’s markets and to represent the French government's initiative of helping French companies to promote their export of products or services abroad as well.
What makes it different from the other Chambers and French and Filipino associations in the country?
Two of our strongest values are network solidarity and excellence. We aim to improve ourselves, programs, and services by always reaching the next level. For instance, we were able to invite the famous chef in the Netflix series Emily in Paris to attend our gala. We always set the bar high. Every time we do events, we always ensure that we add a touch of French excellence and community. We are also different from other Chambers since we have a sense of entrepreneurship since CCI France is a self-sustaining organization. We see ourselves as entrepreneurs that serve businesses.
What are the different types of services the French Chamber offers?
Here in the Philippines, if you are a member of a Chamber, you are given access to a list of businesses that you would want to connect or network with. Our events also offer networking and matching with businesses here and from France. We also offer business development through our economic team that conducts prospective missions to help companies find clients, create market studies, and trade delegations. For instance, on March 31st we had 16 wine companies from France come to the Philippines to meet local importers and distributors of wine. We also have an incubating department in our office.
What are the most impactful achievements the French Chamber has achieved?
I think the most notable ones would be back in 2022 when we took action on sustainability. In partnership with one of our partners, we created Le Trophée Bleu, a Sustainability Business Award with different categories that revolved around the different Sustainable Development Goals. This was very impactful since other Chambers from other countries wanted to follow suit with this business award. We also had a big charity art auction with famous French and Filipino artists. We raised several millions of pesos through the foundation of CCI France-Philippines which is the France-Philippine United Action (FPUA) to help rebuild houses in Leyte after Typhoon Odette. As mentioned a while ago, we also had our Gala. These are our three highlights.
For April of this year, we will be having a job fair to help companies hire talents. This will be a perfect opportunity for companies and job seekers to network and collaborate. This will be held in SM Megamall.
Ms. Maylis Charlat is the Managing Director of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines. She has extensive experience in the fields of international relations, law, management, humanitarian aid, economics, and networking. Maylis also has a Master’s degree in international economic law from La Sorbonne University, Paris. CCI France-Philippines mission is to promote and enhance the business relations between France and the Philippines to foster trade, development, and economic growth between the two ecosystems. As the Managing Director, Maylis is committed to further fostering French and Philippine business, trade, and investment.
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