Companies from the US are increasingly looking at the Philippines as possible alternative location for their existing operations in China amid trade tensions between Washington and Beijing.
John Goyer, executive director for Southeast Asia at the US Chamber of Commerce, said that US investors have noted the efforts of the Philippine government to further improve its business climate, The Philippine Star noted.
Goyer cited the latest Doing Business Report by the World Bank that showed that the Ease of Doing Business ranking of the Philippines jumped 29 notches to 95th 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.
He added that the US remains one of the major investors in the Philippines and its presence in the country is diversified from services including business process outsourcing operations, agri-business, as well as high tech manufacturing.
The challenge for the Philippines and other countries in Southeast Asia, Goyer explained, was how to attract investments as there are certainly factory owners that are migrating from China as a result of the trade war.
Jose Victor Chan-Gonzaga, economic affairs minister at the Philippine embassy in Washington, D.C., said business and investor confidence was very high among US investors mainly due to the choice of economic managers by the Duterte administration headed by finance secretary Carlos Dominguez.
The Philippine government, he added, was able to assure the US business community and their counterparts in the US government the competence of the economic team and their commitment and dedication to alleviate poverty and continuing the good economic trajectory of the Philippines.
US-ASEAN Business Council senior manager Lilibeth Almonte-Arbez said the general macroeconomic position of the Philippines was “very good” and that was what companies were looking at for a longer horizon for their investments.
However, Almonte-Arbez said that US investors wanted more clarity on the proposed Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Rationalisation Act especially on the transition period for the rationalisation of fiscal incentives.