US firms reconsidering PH as investment destination
US firms have taken a renewed interest in tapping lucrative investment opportunities in the Philippines—particularly in the education, medical technologies and franchising sectors—as the country sustains its robust economic growth.
“We see a lot of opportunities here,” said James McCarthy, senior commercial officer at the Embassy of the United States of America to the Philippines.
McCarthy on Friday noted how more US firms have expressed their interest in the Philippines, and cited the number of trade missions done in the last couple of years.
In 2013 alone, the United States undertook five trade missions, which was quite a number, he said. Companies from Iowa and Utah participated in the missions, particularly those engaged in renewable energy, medical technologies and education.
“We will continue that momentum this year with three trade missions. We’ll do another one in education, medical technologies, and franchising. We see much interest already in franchising as we’ve got four companies [wanting to join the mission],” McCarthy said.
“Why are we seeing all this interest? Aside from the economic growth rate, it’s the predominant use of English here and, obviously, it comes as no surprise to you but it makes American companies, especially the small and medium sized companies, very comfortable in doing business here. There is that relationship between the US and the Philippines that makes us feel comfortable,” he explained.
McCarthy also pointed out that the measures being undertaken by the Aquino administration to help create a more conducive business environment in the Philippines, was a major reason why US firms have become more interested in setting up shop here.
“There is good governance in the national government in the sense that corruption is being rooted out. There is also a very young population that seizes on trends coming out of the US. That, too, makes the Philippines an attractive market,” McCarthy said.
“It’s a challenging market nonetheless. There are issues and challenges, like government procurement that can be difficult. There are infrastructure issues, including in the energy sector, which can be a handicap. The next few years will be critical for the Philippines in addressing their high [electricity] rates, as well as possible [power supply] shortfall,” he added.
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