Trade chief convinces businessmen to invest in PH

At the Asia Pacific Forum on 5 July, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez showcased the benefits of investing in the Philippines under the Dutertenomics paradigm of economic resurgence and inclusive growth.

The Forum gathered around 400 from German business chambers and some companies, which continue to trade and invest in the Philippines. According to the organizers, this has been the largest gathering so far for an Asia Pacific Forum that features a partner country.

‘We have grown from strength to strength in the past decade, not only undergoing an economic boom but also becoming a prime investment location for foreign investors,” said Sec. Lopez.

 Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez at the Asia Pacific Forum in Germany last 05 July 2017.

In 2016, the Philippines’ GDP growth rate was 6.8%, higher than 2015’s 5.9%, while the net foreign direct investment inflows has steadily been going up to USD 7.9B in 2016 or 41% higher. The country sustains a double digit growth of 17% for the first quarter of 2017, indicating confidence on the economic prospects under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Business confidence are at high levels at 43% coming from low 30s and 20s in earlier periods, while latest consumer confidence tracks 13% from what used to be negative territory.

The Philippines ranks 19th in the worldwide list of top investment destinations of multinational enterprises (MNEs), as noted by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Top ratings agencies of the world—Fitch, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s—have sustained “investment grade” status up to first quarter this year.

“Bolstering our economy’s robust performance is our administration’s Dutertenomics¸ which sums up President Duterte’s 10+1 socio-economic and peace and order agenda that will widen development gains, address inequality and uplift the quality of life,” he added.

To fulfill such philosophy, the trade chief shared that Philippine Government focuses on empowering micro, small and medium enterprises, maintaining macroeconomic policies and increasing competitiveness and the ease of doing business.

Likewise, Sec. Lopez fully explained the issues raised by parties on Marawi, Mindanao Martial Law and anti-drugs campaign. Positive feedbacks were obtained from delegates and organizers after the forum. He stressed that it is only now that these issues are faced head on as the administration prioritizes peace and order in the Philippines, safeguarding not only the safety of the citizens but also the security of business investments. The administration ensures that a sound and safe policy climate is in place for businesses to thrive.

“Aside from the assured protection of your investments, you can be guaranteed of your right to repatriate profits while greatly benefiting from our drive for zero corruption,” he said.

In 2016, Germany ranked as the Philippines’ 6th largest export market and 7th source of investments for IPA (investment promotion agencies)-approved investments from foreign nationals.

Notable German investment commitments in the Philippines include manufacturing; electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply; administrative and support service activities; and transportation and storage.

Currently, the Philippines supplies electronics and semiconductor products, storage units, and tuna as its top exports to Germany.

German investors can avail of opportunities in food (from processed to natural and organic), home furnishing and accessories, and information technology-business process management (IT-BPM) – i.e. game development, global in-house centers, and software development, according to Sec. Lopez.

He also cited examples of recent German investments in the country in a bid to convince businessmen on the advantages in doing business in the Philippines, including Bosch, Continental Temic, Zama Corporation, KNAUF Gips and Luthansa InTouch. He said that their investments resulted to generation of more jobs and greater annual revenue.

The trade chief is still on a trade and Investment mission speaking in organized business fora and round table gatherings in key areas in Germany. “We invite businessmen to ride on the Philippine growth story. Now is the best time to do business with us,” he concluded.