PH continues to attract more FDIs despite pandemic — BOI

Published May 20, 2021, 4:53 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The Philippines continued to attract foreign direct investments (FDI) despite the pandemic, according to the Board of Investments (BOI). 

Trade and Industry Undersecretary Ceferino S. Rodolfo, who is also managing head of the country’s premier investment promotion agency – BOI, told participants at the 1st Philippines-Hungary Online Business Forum that the agency registered 48 percent increase in FDIs from January to May 7 this year versus last year.

Despite the pandemic last year, the BOI recorded its second highest investment approval level in its 53 year history. 

In addition, the BOI also reported that over the last 12 months ending April this year, the domestic IT-business process management industry has received quotation requests for outsourcing that will require an impressive 5,470 full time jobs, representing over $164 million in contract value. 

The new contracts could be attributed to the Philippines globally competitive ICT industry. The Philippines is a top-tier destination for IT-BPM services and remains one of the leaders in the global IT-BPM industry, ranking first in voice-related services, second in non-voice, and accounting for 13 percent of global market share.

In terms of exports, the country registered a 31 percent increase in exports in March versus March last year. 

Rodolfo attributed the encouraging economic performance to the country’s resilient economy primarily due to the Filipino workforce. 

 “We are a country of 110 million people with median age of less than 25 years old, highly skilled, educated,” he told Hungarian government officials and private sector representatives.

 Another key advantage is the country’s access to markets, he said, citing the country’s membership in various regional free trade agreements such as the 10-member ASEAN countries and the  

newly signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement, which will provide  access to Japan, Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and China markets.

The Philippines has also an existing bilateral FTA with the EFTA states and Japan. It is also about to conclude an FTA negotiation with Korea and will be commencing a preferential trade agreement talks with India.  

Equally important is the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) privilege for Philippine exports to the EU, the UK, Russia, and Canada. The GSP with the US is up for renewal. 

Boosting the country’s competitiveness is the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises, or the Create law, which was signed just last March 26, 2021.

The CREATE Law provides longer time period for enjoying income tax holidays and subsidies for key cost items to investors.