Hong Kong firms urged to expand in Philippines

Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - July 1, 2021 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is encouraging Hong Kong businesses to invest and bring their research and development, manufacturing and information technology (IT) – business process management activities to the Philippines.

During the Reconnect and Reinforce: Hong Kong – the Philippines Partnership webinar yesterday, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez urged Hong Kong businesses that plan to expand their research and development, manufacturing, and IT and business process management activities to consider the Philippines.

“Our trading and investment partner-companies in Hong Kong can surely ride on the Philippines’ expected recovery this year. We believe that the continued gradual and calibrated reopening of the economy – together with the country’s rollout of vaccination – is keeping us on track toward a V-shaped recovery,” he said, noting signs of recovery are being seen in terms of gross domestic product growth, investments, exports, foreign direct investments, manufacturing and in unemployment rate.

In addition, Lopez said the country’s highly skilled, educated, dedicated, and cost-efficient workforce would be able to support operations of Hong Kong businesses that choose to expand in the Philippines.

He said locating in the Philippines would allow access to major markets through the European Union’s Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus, and the country’s free trade agreements.

Moreover, he said the government continues efforts to make the country more conducive for business.

Earlier this year, the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act, which trims the corporate income tax rate and brings changes to the incentives regime, was approved into law to make the Philippines more attractive to investments.

The government also continues the rollout of the Build Build Build infrastructure program.

Lopez also said there are ongoing efforts for the streamlining and digitalization in government services to improve ease of doing business.

“Meanwhile, with the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area as a key driver of mainland China’s development, Hong Kong is a great platform for Filipino companies and Filipinos in the service sector to connect with companies in the area and around the world. Further, due to Hong Kong’s extensive experience working with foreign investors, you are a perfect launch pad for Belt and Road initiatives in the Philippines,” he said.

As the Philippines continues efforts to build back better from the impact of the pandemic, he said the government would want to strengthen trade and investment ties with Hong Kong.

Last year, Hong Kong was the Philippines’ fourth largest trading partner, fourth biggest export market, 11th import supplier, and 16th investment source.

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