MAKATI CITY— During the PH-US Trade and Investment Forum on March 11, 2024, Philippine trade officials showcased the wealth of investment opportunities in the Philippines to the American firms that were part of the US Presidential Trade and Investment Mission that came here to enhance their investment footprint in the country.

Led by the Board of Investments, the country’s major investment promotion agencies (IPAs) gathered together and championed the Philippines’ strong economic performance and inherent advantages as a premier investment location for American firms.

Towards more investment opportunities with the US: American business delegation and Philippine trade officials converged at the PH-US Trade and Investment Forum in Makati City on March 11.

Some of the officials in the photo are the following (L-R; seated): Mr. Gabriel Lingan, Division Chief, Cagayan Economic Zone Authority (CEZA); Mr. Mohammed Hussein P. Pangandaman, Administrator and Chief Executive Officer of the Authority of the Freeport Area of Bataan (AFAB); Ms. Mary Destaffan, General Manager of Collins Aerospace Philippines; Ms. Ma. Corazon Halili-Dichosa, Executive Director of the Board of Investments; Mr. Tereso O. Panga, Director General of the Philippine Economic Zone Authority; Trade Undersecretary Ana Carolina P. Sanchez; Mr. Christopher Quinlivan, Regional Senior Commercial Officer, U.S. Commercial Service ASEAN;  Mr. Phil Nervig, Economic Counselor of the U.S. Embassy; Mr. Eleazar Ricote, Deputy Executive Director of PPP Center; Ms. Karen Magno, Department Manager III of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA); Atty. Gisela Kalalo, Executive Vice President of the Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA); Mr. Erwin Kenneth R. Peralta, Vice President of the Business Development Department and Officer In Charge of the Investment Promotions and Marketing Department of BCDA; and Mr. Delfin Lorenzana, Chairman of the BCDA.

The Philippines is a valuable contributor to the global business growth of American companies. This sentiment was underscored by Undersecretary Ana Carolina P. Sanchez, Chief of Staff, Office of DTI Secretary, who highlighted the strong bilateral trade and investment relations between the Philippines and the US. Notably, the visit of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. to Washington DC last year set the stage that led to the “first of its kind” US Presidential Trade and Investment Mission (PTIM) to the Philippines.

As a clear testament to President Joe Biden’s commitment to strengthening the partnership with the Philippines, this mission was designed to bolster the contribution of US companies to the Philippine economy across key sectors. Mainly, the Mission aimed to intensify US involvement in the country’s agenda on advancing innovation, improving connectivity infrastructure, facilitating the transition to clean energy, fostering growth in the critical minerals sector, and enhancing food security for Filipinos.

“I assure you that the Philippine economic fundamentals remain strong and we are fully committed to supporting American business activities in the country. Here is the beginning of broader and deeper partnerships for inclusive, sustainable, and transformative economic growth and development,” Undersecretary Sanchez said, pointing out as well the Philippine Government’s steadfast efforts to improve the business climate in the country.  She said that DTI stands ready to act as the primary point of contact for foreign investors that are entering or expanding businesses in the Philippines.  

Executive Director Ma. Corazon Halili-Dichosa of the BOI’s Industry Development Services (IDS) provided a comprehensive overview of the Philippine investment climate, shedding light on the myriad of business opportunities available. She also detailed the features of pertinent economic measures that have opened up the economy to more foreign direct investments, including the incentives that may be provided under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act, and the establishment of green lanes for strategic investments under the Executive Order No. 18.

Making It happen for US companies: Mr. Christopher Quinlivan, Regional Senior Commercial Officer, US Commercial Service ASEAN (top photo) and Trade Undersecretary Ana Carolina P. Sanchez (bottom photo) delivered their respective remarks during the PH-US Trade and Investment Forum.

“The Philippines has so much to offer,” she emphasized, highlighting the key strengths of the country to include its strategic location, highly skilled human resources, and natural resources. She asserted, “Filipinos are our strongest and best value proposition.”

Ms. Mary Destaffan, General Manager of Collins Aerospace Philippines, relating their success story in the country, lauded the exceptional talent of the Filipino workforce. “Here in the Philippines, we have access to remarkable talent, with 74 percent of our employees being college graduates,” she said. “It has truly been a partnership every step of the way. We stand prepared to demonstrate how we can elevate local Philippine products onto the global stage,” Ms. Destaffan added.

Pitching Philippines’ advantages for American firms: Ms. Mary Destaffan, General Manager of Collins Aerospace Philippines, (left) with BOI Executive Director Ma. Corazon Halili-Dichosa (right) during the PH-US Trade and Investment Forum. Ms. Destaffan, in her speech, attested to the ingenuity and other invaluable skills of the Filipino workforce.

Collins Aerospace Philippines is an American technology company and one of the biggest suppliers of aerospace and defense products in the world.  It recently announced its new aircraft seats production and its plan to source the raw materials therefor from the Philippines. 

The Philippines is poised to becoming a regional hub for smart and sustainable industries.  It is on track in its aspiration to be a major hub for renewable energy (RE), with strong IT infrastructure and abundant mineral resources. This is evident from the remarkable rise in BOI-approved investments in 2023, totaling Php1.26 trillion—up by 73% from the same period in 2022, majority of which are in RE.

American companies expressed keen interest in the vast opportunities presented by the Philippines for US business ventures. Mr. Phil Nervig, Economic Counselor at the US Embassy, reaffirmed the effectiveness of the country’s strategies in facilitating investments and fostering fruitful business collaborations between the Philippines and foreign companies as these ensure a smooth, productive, and ultimately successful experience for companies operating within the country.

“We eagerly anticipate the opportunities that await us in the Philippines. Various promotion agencies are here to assist. We are committed partners in strengthening the economic relationship between the Philippines and the US, recognizing that our bilateral ties are firmly rooted in economic partnership,” said Mr. Nervig.

Mr. Christopher Quinlivan, Regional Senior Commercial Officer of the US Commercial Service for ASEAN, emphasized the unwavering commitment of the US to support the ongoing success of American businesses in the Philippines.

In his closing remarks, Director General Tereso O. Panga of PEZA expressed his optimism about the future endeavors between the Philippines and the US, as the Forum serves as the starting point for more collaborations.

The US-Philippine Trade and Investment Forum was among the firsts in a series of activities planned for the visit of US Department of Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo to the Philippines to foster economic ties in support of the U.S. Indo-Pacific Strategy.

The U.S. delegation to the Philippines included officials from various US companies such as United Airlines, Alphabet’s Google, Black & Veatch, Visa, EchoStar/DISH, United Parcel Service (UPS), Boston Consulting Group, KKR Asia Pacific, Bechtel, FedEx, Mastercard, and Microsoft. ♦

Date of release: 20 March 2024