The Philippine delegation to the China Investment Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) 2020 recently presented valuable investment projects and potential partnerships for Chinese and foreign investors at the Philippine Investment Forum, held on the first day of CIFIT 2020 at Xiamen, China.  

Leading the program for the investment forum was Special Trade Representative (STR) Glenn Peñaranda of the Philippine Trade and Investment Center – Beijing of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). In their respective keynote speeches, Philippine Ambassador to China H.E. Jose Santiago Sta. Romana and DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez thanked the organizing committee of CIFIT for making the Philippines its partner in CIFIT 2020 and 2021, giving the country the distinct accolade of being the Guest Country of Honor for two consecutive years. They reiterated that the Philippines, by showcasing its good economic fundamentals and the best investment opportunities at CIFIT, reinforces its status as a top investment destination in the country and its commitment to strengthen Philippine-China business relations. 

Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo of the Philippine Board of Investments presenting projects under the manufacturing sector

Key government agencies led the discussions on major sectoral investment opportunities that Chinese and foreign investors may pursue in the country. Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo of the Philippine Board of Investments took charge on presenting projects under the manufacturing sector; President and Chief Executive Officer Vivencio Dizon of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority–the development agency in charge of building New Clark City, the Philippines’ next green and smart urban center–discussed investment opportunities for infrastructure; and Agricultural Counselor Ana Abejuela of the Department of Agriculture – Office of the Agricultural Counselor (Beijing) presented projects from the country’s agriculture sector. 

The Philippines’ biggest companies–Aboitiz Equity Ventures, BDO Unibank, Inc., Megaworld International, and the Science Park of the Philippines, also presented their ongoing projects and partnership opportunities for Chinese and foreign investors. BYD Auto Industry Co. Ltd., a Chinese auto, tech and energy-solutions company with a subsidiary in the Philippines, also provided their testimony in partnering with the Philippines. BYD has been in the country since 2018, working with local government units and businesses toward the modernization of transport in the country and, in recent months, with the alleviation of the effects of the pandemic in the Philippines.  

During the question and answer portion of the forum, DTI Secretary Lopez and Undersecretary Rodolfo assured Chinese and foreign investors will receive complete support and security as they decide to make their business move happen in the Philippines.  

“The Philippines has always been a pro-business and pro-market economy. Our investment policies are protected by law. With our strong economic fundamentals, we are gearing to bounce back and recover quickly. With China as our top trading partner, we are also working hard to move toward further strengthening our trade and business relationship,” he said.  

The DTI Secretary also cited that policies such as the Omnibus Investment Code guarantees the safety of foreign investments in the country, honoring the free movement of business within and across trading partners abroad. Through the BOI, all investors will be provided with adequate one-on-one account management and support to guide foreign investors across the whole process, from acquiring permits, identifying key partners, understanding local regulations, maximizing incentives, and recruiting a solid workforce. 

Secretary Lopez also underscored that laws that encourage foreign investment, ownership, and ease of doing business are being prioritized for immediate approval. “The government continues to institute new laws to liberalize more sectors and remove prohibitions in our foreign investment negative list. For instance, we are working on lowering the minimum threshold of investment to allow foreign participation.” 

“One of the current bills being pushed for passage is the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE) Bill,” explained DTI Undersecretary Rodolfo. “Under CREATE, we are looking at reducing corporate income tax and offering competitive incentives to a wider range of businesses. However, interested investors need not wait until the bill is passed–in fact, now is the best time to invest in the country. We will be giving potential partners the choice to operate either with the current or new tax regime in the future.” 

The Philippine Investment Forum kicks off a series of activities and forums that will take place in the succeeding days at CIFIT 2020. ”The Philippine delegation has arranged forums to provide an opportunity for prospective investors to learn more about the Philippines’ investment climate, opportunities, and current policies. I, therefore, wish to encourage our friends from the Chinese business community to take full advantage of the presence during the next three days of my fellow representatives from the Philippine government to undertake fruitful partnerships and investment arrangements,” says H.E. Ambassador Sta. Romana. 

As the Philippines proceeds with their prepared activities at CIFIT 2020, STR Peñaranda assures Chinese and foreign investors that making their next business move happen in the Philippines will be met with utmost commitment from the Philippines.  

“China now is our important economic partner. ‘Make it Happen in the Philippines’ will be our national integrated investment promotion campaign. More than our strategic market access, we have a committed workforce that many foreign businesses investing here have seen and worked with. They care about and are happy with the companies they work with, even as unprecedented events like this pandemic or natural disasters test their commitment. Our foreign investors realize this, and that’s why we assure that regardless of what obstacles may happen here, we can make it happen in the Philippines,” STR Peñaranda said. ♦

Date of Release: 10 September 2020