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US investors bullish on Philippines
“I think that demonstrates that you see an ongoing effort in the Philippines to improve the business climate, improve the investment environment and so I think that countries are paying attention and that there are business opportunities in that market for sure,” Goyer said.
STAR / File

US investors bullish on Philippines

Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - November 10, 2019 - 12:00am

WASHINGTON – American companies are looking at the Philippines as a possible relocation sites for their existing operations in China amid the trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.

John Goyer, executive director for Southeast Asia of the US Chamber of Commerce, in a teleconference with Filipino journalists said US investors have noted the efforts of the Philippine government to further improve its business climate.

Goyer cited the yearly Doing Business Report by the World Bank that

showed the ranking of the Philippines jump 29 notches to 95th in the 2020 edition from the previous 124th position.

“I think that demonstrates that you see an ongoing effort in the Philippines to improve the business climate, improve the investment environment and so I think that countries are paying attention and that there are business opportunities in that market for sure,” Goyer said.

Goyer said the US remains one of the major investors in the Philippines and its presence in the country is diversified from services through the business process outsourcing (BPO) operations, agri-business as well as high tech manufacturing.

The challenge for the Philippines and other countries in Southeast Asia, Goyer explained, is how to attract investments as there are certainly factory owners that are migrating from China as a result of the trade war.

“How can the Philippines and other countries best position themselves to capture some of that business whether it’s the shifting of supply orders or actual new green field investment. So this is what every Filipino is thinking about,” Goyer said.

Jose Victor Chan-Gonzaga, economic affairs minister at the Philippine Embassy in Washington, said business and investor confidence is very high among American investors due mainly to the choice of economic managers by the Duterte administration headed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez.

“When President Duterte unveiled his choices for the senior economic positions, there was a huge sigh of relief in Washington because these are people they know. They are confident, with integrity and that has been reinforced by their visits in the course of two to three years then interacting with the US business community,” Gonzaga said.

The Philippine government, he added, was able to assure the US business community and their counterparts in the US government about the competence of the economic team and their commitment and dedication to alleviate poverty and continuing the good economic story of the Philippines.

 “As far as the Embassy is concerned, we have not seen any lack of commitment on the part of the US government and business community on how they can be of help to the Philippines. Obviously those issues they raised I think that doesn’t detract at all from their confidence in the economy,” he said.

US-ASEAN Business Council senior manager Lilibeth Almonte-Arbez said the general macroeconomic position of the Philippines is very good and that is what companies are looking at for a longer horizon for their investments.

Almonte-Arbez said American investors want more clarity on the proposed Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Rationalization Act (CITIRA) especially on the transition period for the rationalization of fiscal incentives.

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