The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has expressed confidence that American firms, which have poured in over P400 billion in investments in the local economic zones are going to expand their operations as both countries continue to harness their bilateral economic ties.
At the virtual PEZA Global Biz featuring the USA, Director General Charito B. Plaza noted that Americans continue to be one of the top three biggest contributors of investments in the Philippines under PEZA.
“Stronger bilateral ties between the USA and Philippines are [indeed] vital in facilitating our mutual trade and investment agenda,” said Plaza.
According to the PEZA chief, there are 420 American enterprises registered with PEZA as of the 3rd quarter of 2021. These firms invest P400.668 billion, $6.761 billion of exports, and employ 330,906 workers.
These investments came from major industries in the country such as the business process outsourcing (BPO), call center operations, software development, and exports in machinery, electrical, and IT-related equipment.
Meantime, Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel G. Romualdez said “The Philippines is ready to do more business with the United States. Our celebration of 75 years of Philippine-US relations this year culminates today’s Global Biz with PEZA as the most opportune time for the Philippines and the United States to engage in more economic partnerships with the participation of both our countries’ dynamic business community.”
On potential American companies in the Philippines, the Philippine Ambassador highlighted, “There are very good indications that e-commerce in the country will only continue to grow and with this growth, come the opportunities for investors [to come and invest] in the Philippines.”
With the US economy advancing to other pressing economic priorities, Ambassador Romualdez is encouraging the country to also do the same. He said, “With ecozones already providing necessary infrastructure and incentives, the Philippines can engage in climate-ready investments and infrastructure, supply chain resilience, technology advancements, artificial intelligence, and cybersecurity.”
As the Philippines shows good signs of recovery with expected GDP growth of 5.1 percent this 2022 and with the increasing vaccination rate, Ambassador Romualdez said, “These have allowed for the gradual reopening of the economy in the third and fourth quarters of 2021. Economic activities have been up and running.”
Meanwhile, Charge D’Affaires of the United States of America to the Philippines Honorable Heather Variava shared that the United States government has facilitated the donation of over 65 million vaccines through the COVAX facility, including almost 25 million vaccines in direct U.S. donations.
Variava said, “The rapid spread of Omicron variant has reinforced the importance of vaccines. In total, the Philippines has received over a hundred million doses of US-branded vaccines.”
For long-term investment planning, Variava suggests that “investments in health and manufacturing sectors are areas where American firms and investors may have expertise to offer. We know the Philippines is looking for additional investment across the board, especially in 5G, internet, clean energy, health, and health security areas.”
Further, US-Philippine Society Executive Director Mr. Hank Hendrickson has assured PEZA and its partner investors that the Philippines and the US governments will remain active on trade investment promotion and facilitation.
Hendrickson said, “PEZA’s success and commitment to quality and transparency are making a positive impact on Philippine practices outside the ecozones that serve the growing domestic market and will need to meet ever-higher expectations as the Philippine middle-class and its purchasing power expand.”
Ambassador Romualdez also mentioned, “The Philippines is looking to improve its interconnectivity infrastructure to address the current demand and sustain the growth of our digital economy in the foreseeable future. We have amended our laws to attract more foreign investments in the country that will allow fair competition and better economic activity.”