The 2022 Philippine Business Mission began with a country briefing by the U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, The Honorable MaryKay Loss Carlson and the U.S. Embassy team including USAID. U.S. private sector shared policy priorities and areas for cooperation and collaboration with the United States and the new Marcos administration. The US-ABC SVP and Managing Director Amb. Michael Michalak (ret.) and its Philippines Committee Leadership Co-Chair IBM Vice President Government & Regulatory Affairs Asia Pacific Steve Braim led this year’s contingent, the largest in-person delegation to date signaling the increased investor interest in the Philippines under the new Marcos administration.
“American businesses have long invested in the Philippines, many for over 100 years, and U.S. firms are committed to stay and expand economic engagement in a country that shares historic ties, common values and aspirations with the United States. The business confidence is palpable and the Council and our members see more opportunities as the new administration starts implementing priority programs in support of SMEs, health, energy, and digital economy,” Michalak stated.
The delegates also met with members of the Cabinet, notably the Tourism Secretary Christina Frasco and ICT Secretary Ivan Uy, and senior officials of government agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the National Privacy Commission, and the Departments of Agriculture and Education, to discuss the role of foreign investment and international trade in the Philippines' post-pandemic economic recovery. The first day of the Business Mission concluded with a dialogue on the state of business in the country, held between the delegates and the private sector local business leaders including members of the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC).
“The Philippines is well-poised to take advantage of its position as the second largest IT services global provider and make strides in the digital transformation of government to improve the delivery of public services and propel the economy. It is heartening to hear the Philippine Government’s focus on connectivity and inclusion and the delegation applauds the latest investment-enabling measures the government has put in place to promote more economic growth,” Mr. Braim said.
The second day of the 2022 Philippines Business Mission went underway as the Council met with Finance Secretary Benjamin Diokno, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, BSP Governor Felipe Medalla, and Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo. The delegates congratulated the Philippines in joining the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework and offered views on negotiation priorities and discussed ways to promote digital and financial inclusion, and more investment in the Philippines’ health sector. The day was capped by a cocktail reception hosted by the US Embassy.
On the third day of the 2022 Philippine Business Mission, the Council met with the Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Labor and Employment, Department of Energy, Department of Transportation, Department of Environment and Natural Resources, the National Economic Development Authority, and the Bureau of Customs. Digital trade, renewable energy, review of labor and employment policies, and extended producer responsibility in waste management were highlighted during meetings between senior government officials and priority stakeholders.
The fourth and final day of the 2022 Philippine Business Mission started with a discussion between the Council and the Asian Development Bank to address the respective priorities of the Philippines, the United States, and ASEAN. After the ADB meeting, delegates and the Department of National Defense engaged in a discussion on strategic issues and the streamlining of defense acquisition procedures. The delegation also met with the Department of Science and Technology to ramp up STEM education, sustainability, and innovation. The mission ended with a lunch meeting with House Committee Chair on Ways and Means Joey Salceda who had a frank exchange with delegates on legislative and budget priorities of the new Marcos administration.