American investments at the various economic zones in the country have reached P400.4 billion, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) reported.
During the virtual ECOZONES IN-DEPTH: PEZA Dialogue with Philippine Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Jose Manuel G. Romualdez, PEZA Deputy Director General Tereso Panga reported that there are 429 companies with American equity registered with the agency. These firms have combined investments of P400.4 billion and are providing employment to 311,128 Filipinos.
“In terms of its share in the PEZA total ecozone foreign direct investment by country, US is ranked No. 3,” said Panga. Overall, the US is among the country’s top trading partners, and traditionally it has been the Philippines’ largest foreign investor.
During the forum, Panga also cited the bright prospects for increased US trade and investments in the Philippines and into ASEAN in general as the US government under Pres. Joe Biden is apparently keen on reviving its engagement in the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP). Biden is also keen in adopting a new industrial and FDI strategy that would strengthen US supply chains and promote climate resilience globally.
Another great initiative of the US is the Build Back Better World or B3W program, which was launched by Biden together with the G7 countries last June 2021.
Under this program, he said, the Philippines can vie for B3W funding and technology support for its infrastructure needs in priority areas such as climate change, renewable energy, health and safety, and digital transformation to enhance the country’s economic recovery and resilience amid the global covid pandemic.
“The Philippines will surely benefit from B3W being a strategic ally of the US in the region and given its bid to become soon a middle-income economy,” he said.
Further, the ongoing US – China trade war and the massive supply chain disruption in China also present opportunities for third-party economies like the Philippines.
On FDI attraction, the Philippines can target the American companies planning to relocate their production facilities in China to ASEAN.
On expansion of our trade with the US, the Philippines can lobby for reinstatement of the GSP+ for Philippine made products for export to the US that will contribute to global value chain diversification as well as promote growth of other sectors that are of strategic importance to both economies.
According to Ambassador Romualdez, “For our part, we continue the work we have been doing with Finance Secretary Sonny Dominguez and the Department of Trade and Industry to attract American companies that are planning to relocate to the ASEAN region as part of their diversification efforts from China.”
As the current chairman of the ASEAN Committee in Washington, Romualdez said that his focus will be on the economic recovery of the country and the region.
“We have lined up several economic activities such as our first in-person networking event the embassy organized with the US Chamber of Commerce,” he said.
The Philippine embassy in Washington D.C. is also planning to hold several hybrid forums with US business groups and put together investment promotions with PEZA.