US firms woo PH partners amid China push
The head of a US business delegation rated the Philippines’ as one of the most attractive destinations for foreign direct investments owing to the country’s positive economic prospects, and urged local stakeholders to work more closely with American firms on the technology front.
In an interview, Ambassador Michael Michalak of the US-Asean Business Council said he had led a group of US business people to meet with government officials and learn more about the plans of the Duterte administration for the Philippines.
“We were all impressed by what we heard from the economic managers,” he said. “If only half of what they said they would do would happen, that would make the country very attractive for investors like us.”
Government efforts to liberalize sectors of the economy to attract more foreign direct investment (FDI), including the release of a new and shortened Foreign Investment Negative List and the proposed amendments to the Public Service Act, were a major theme of the mission.
The delegation also received an update on the Government’s Comprehensive Tax Reform Program (CTRP), including the second package of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN 2), the ambitious “Build, Build, Build” infrastructure initiative, and social development initiatives.
The mission focused on ensuring increased private sector and other stakeholder input in CTRP; highlighting the interest of US companies to participate in the “Build, Build, Build” initiative; the expansion of the initiative to include critical infrastructure in the energy, telecommunications and other key sectors, and how US companies could contribute more to the rehabilitation of Marawi and associated relief efforts.
Amid China’s aggressive push to do more business with the region’s economies, Michalak urged Filipino stakeholders to take a closer look at the value proposition offered by American firms.
“US firms adhere to a rules-based approach. So you know exactly what you’re getting when you do business with us. And our prices are very competitive, too.”
Member companies participating in the mission included Citi, the Coca-Cola Co., Microsoft, Monsanto, Philip Morris International (PMFTC), 3M, Archer Daniels Midland (represented by BowerGroupAsia), Booz Allen Hamilton, Caterpillar, Emerson, Expedia, ExxonMobil, FedEx Express, Herbalife Nutrition, HP Inc., KKR, Nike, Procter & Gamble, Qualcomm Incorporated, Texas Instruments, UPS and Visa.
“The size of our delegation and the number of industries represented this year are a testament to the recent robust economic growth that the Philippines has experienced and the strong economic fundamentals that underpin this growth,” Michalak said.