02 May 2018

Published also in Business Mirror

SINGAPORE—The Philippines continues to be an investment destination for Singaporean companies as $185.7 million worth of investment pledges providing 1,920 job opportunities were signed at the sidelines of the 32nd Asean Summit on April 28.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) reported the investment pledges will cover collaborative works on aviation, solutions for sustainable urbanization, as well as development of marine renewable energy, packaging, film manufacturing, information, communications technology, financial technology, water solutions, prefabricated projects, food and blockchain technology.

“With our robust bilateral trade and investments ties, we are confident these new business agreements will deepen our relationship further. These will push Philippine-Singapore trade engagement to even greater heights,” President Duterte said.  “With these investments coming in, I am fulfilling a personal commitment to my countrymen to bring them more job opportunities. That’s why I am appreciative of your investment in the Philippines. I promise you that when you invest in the Philippines, we will ensure that your investments will be protected.” 

The President witnessed the presentation of six memoranda of understanding  and four letters of intent (LOI) signed between the Philippine business delegation—composed of Filinvest Development Corp., Everhydro Corp., Cebu Air Inc., ICS ICT Support Service Corp., Ascent Solutions Philippines Inc., and Jollibee Foods Corp.—and Singaporean companies including Keppel Corp., OceanPixel, SIA Engineering Co. Ltd., Hitachi Asia Ltd., Robin Village International Pte. Ltd., Ascent Solutions Pte. Ltd., and Golden Beeworks Pte. Ltd.

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez also signed an LOI with Asean Business Advisory Council Chairman Robert Yap, which involves a feasibility study on a suitable site for the implementation of a free online marketplace, SGConnect™ legacy project. 

Lopez also signed an LOI with Lepack Packaging Pte. Ltd. Director Lim Seong Nam, which will explore opportunities to help and assist micro, small and medium enterprises by developing innovative packaging.

In 2017 Singapore was the Philippines’s sixth-biggest trading partner, fifth export market  and seventh import supplier with total bilateral trade valued at $9.34 billion. Exports of semiconductor devices manufactured on consignment basis also boosted Philippine exports to Singapore by 1.16 percent in 2017.

Likewise, a significant growth of 378 percent (P2.13 billion in 2017 from P444 million in 2016) approved investments from Singapore was noted in electricity, gas, steam and air-conditioning supply industry.  

Lopez encouraged the Singapore business community to join the Philippines’s growth story by locating and expanding their businesses in the country.

“There are enormous opportunities for companies partnering with the Philippines as the country is on its economic breakout,” he said.

“The 6.7-percent GDP growth, increasing consumer base, and highly skilled and young work force complement the various reforms and infrastructure programs of the government, as well as new policies in enhancing business environment and competitiveness,” Lopez added.

The trade chief also highlighted the country’s preferential agreements and market access to Europe, the European Union and the United States.

“We are a strategic partner as the Philippines is located at the crossroads of international shipping and airlines, and a natural gateway to East Asian economies. With our preferential agreements to big economies, we can also provide access to the large US and EU markets,” Lopez said.