EU to bring more investors to the Philippines
After Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas announced that foreign direct investments (FDI) to the Philippines fell by more than half in February, the EU Delegation to the Philippines gave a piece of good news: they want to double EU FDIs to the country in five years.
The delegation met up with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), House Speaker Sonny Belmonte, representatives from several government departments and other stakeholders to discuss how the EU can help boost FDIs to the Philippines in a forum held last Tuesday.
Although the Philippines’ investment climate is currently viewed poorly by foreign fund managers, the delegation said that the EU is willing to step up contributions to the Philippines.
However, this will entail revising a number of laws that are currently being implemented by the country, including:
- Foreign Investment Negative List
- Investment Act
- Anti-trust or Competition Law,
- Fiscal Incentives Rationalisation
- Tax Incentives Management and Transparency Act
- Central Bank Charter
- Build-Operate-Transfer Law
- Cabotage Law, and others
EU Delegation Head Guy Ledoux said freeing up certain measures in these laws will facilitate new investments. DTI Secretary Greg Domingo is optimistic of the idea and said ‘We have a pro-investment President. We have a government that is busy making sure that the business climate improves.’
He added that foreign companies who choose to invest in the Philippines will not be disappointed because ‘The country’s competitive advantage is quality labor.’
Meanwhile, Speaker Belmonte said ‘I am advocating for the amendment of restrictive economic provisions in our Constitution that hamper foreign investments in our country.
‘Policies that create a thriving environment for commerce and investment generally will benefit both domestic and foreign companies.’ He said that more jobs means more profits and wages for the Filipino people, leading to stronger taxes and better public services.
The EU is currently the Philippines’ biggest foreign investor at €7.6b in estimated stocks. 400,000 Filipinos are also currently employed by roughly 600 European companies based in the Philippines.