PBBM to US investors: PH ready to be leading investment hub in Asia

The Philippines is all set to become the 'leading' investment destination in Asia, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said Thursday (Manila time). 'With a solid reform agenda and unabating growth amid headwinds, the Philippines is ready to take off as a leading investment hub in Asia,' Marcos said during the Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) in San Francisco, California, as he enticed the business community in the United States (US) to invest in the Philippines. 'A wealth of opportunity awaits you in the Philippines, and we are ready to explore new horizons with your investments in the coming years,' he added. Marcos assured the US businesses of a favorable business environment in the Philippines, adding that his administration is committed to promoting high-value investments. He said an influx of highly-desirable investments in strategic sectors of the Philippine economy is expected, considering the amendments to the Public Service Act, Foreign Investments Act, Retail Trade Liberalization Act and the Im plementing Rules and Regulations of the Renewable Energy Act. He noted that the government has also introduced reforms to the Philippines' fiscal incentives structure through the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act to attract both domestic and global firms to invest in strategically important sectors. 'Investments in rural areas and highly-advanced and technology-enabled projects and activities are given top priority and, consequently, greater and longer incentives,' Marcos said. 'Investments in the digital space are also highly prioritized. Incentives are given to projects covering research and development and those adopting advanced digital production technologies such as, for example, artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing, data analytics, cloud computing, and nanotechnology,' he added. Marcos said the public-private partnerships (PPP) framework has also been modified to simplify the approval processes, ensure the viability and bankability of PPP projects, cut re d tape, and pave the way for quality infrastructure development. 'These reforms support the Philippines' massive infrastructure drive. We are prioritizing the implementation of 197 infrastructure flagship projects worth around USD155 billion, with a sharp focus on upgrading physical and digital connectivity, water, agriculture, health, transport, and energy,' he said. 'Fastest' economic growth Marcos said the Philippines has registered its highest full-year gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2022, citing the 5.9-percent economic growth in the third quarter of 2023 and the 5.5-percent expansion for the first three quarters. He said the Philippines' economic growth is the 'fastest' among major economies in Asia, outpacing Vietnam, Indonesia, China and Malaysia, and expressed confidence that the country will post a full-year growth that is close to the 6 to 7 percent target for 2023. He also noted that major international financial institutions and think tanks such as the World Bank, International Monet ary Fund and ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office project that the country 'will outpace its major regional peers.' 'In fact, Fitch Ratings recently affirmed the stable outlook for the Philippines. This is on the back of strong growth, gradual fiscal consolidation, reductions in government debt-to-GDP ratio, and a comfortable external position supported by sound economic policies and robust economic reforms,' Marcos said. 'Labor market conditions remain strong. We have been seeing consistently low levels of unemployment and improving quality of employment and underemployment that has been lessened and employment that has been generated. Inflation is slowly coming down. The October 2023 inflation slowed down to 4.9 percent from a frighteningly high 6.1 percent in September,' he added. Marcos said his administration is committed to arresting inflation and maintaining overall price stability through supply-side interventions and demand-side management measures. He added that it aims to reintroduce the Phili ppines and jumpstart 'meaningful, concrete, and mutually beneficial' partnerships that will drive growth in the 21st century economy. 'Equally important, this is a deliberate and proactive way for us to generate feedback from our investor stakeholders. We consider these suggestions from our partners as vital in our efforts to shape our policies and programs to support economic transformation and recovery,' Marcos said. 'Over the past year, we embarked on a journey towards economic transformation grounded on sound macroeconomic fundamentals, a favorable business climate, and agile risk management.' The sustained inflows of net Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from 2005 to 2023 indicate investor confidence in the Philippine economy. Based on recent PEBs, the Philippine Economic Team has reached out to over 1,300 members of the business and financial communities in Frankfurt, London, Singapore, Washington, New York, Tokyo, and Toronto from Sept. 2022 to July 2023. Source: Philippines News agency