Marcos to US bizmen: PH ready to take off as Asia’s leading investment hub

Marcos to US bizmen: PH ready to take off as Asia’s leading investment hub
Photo from Presidential Communications Office

PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. showcased on Wednesday, November 15, 2023, the country’s fast-growing economy as he highlighted its readiness to take off as a leading investment hub in Asia.

In his address during the Philippine Economic Briefing (PED) held in San Francisco, California, Marcos told the United States (US) businessmen that a wealth opportunity awaits them in the Philippines, noting that his administration has a solid reform agenda and unabating growth amid headwinds.

He said the Philippines is ready to explore new horizons in terms of investors in the coming years.

“By bringing conversations on the country’s macroeconomic fundamentals, policy roadmap, and investment opportunities closer to the international business community, we aim to reintroduce the Philippines and jumpstart meaningful, concrete, and mutually beneficial partnerships that will drive growth in the 21st century economy,” he said.

“Equally important, this is a deliberate and proactive way for us to generate feedback from our investor stakeholders. We consider these suggestions from our partners as vital in our efforts to shape our policies and programs to support economic transformation and recovery…Over the past year, we embarked on a journey towards economic transformation grounded on sound macroeconomic fundamentals, a favorable business climate, and agile risk management,” he added.

Marcos noted the Philippines’ 7.6 highest full-year gross domestic product (GDP) growth in 2022 and the 5.9 percent economic growth in the third quarter of 2023, which brought the growth for the first three quarters to 5.5 percent.

He expressed optimism that the country will achieve its target of 6.0 to 7.0 percent growth rate for 2023.

Marcos said the country’s economic growth is the fastest growth among major economies in Asia, outpacing Viet Nam, Indonesia, China and Malaysia.

He echoed the position of major international financial institutions and think tanks, including the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and ASEAN+3 Macroeconomic Research Office that the Philippines “will outpace its major regional peers.”

“In fact, Fitch Ratings recently affirmed the stable outlook for the Philippines. This is on the back of strong growth, gradual fiscal consolidation, reductions in government debt-to-GDP ratio, and a comfortable external position supported by sound economic policies and robust economic reforms,” Marcos said.

“Labor market conditions remain strong. We have been seeing consistently low levels of unemployment and improving quality of employment and underemployment that has been lessened and employment that has been generated. Inflation is slowly coming down. The October 2023 inflation slowed down to 4.9 percent from a frighteningly high 6.1 percent in September,” he added.

The chief executive also reiterated his administration’s commitment to arrest inflation and maintain overall price stability through supply-side interventions and demand-side management measures.

The Philippine inflation rate slid down to 4.9 percent in October 2023, the second lowest monthly inflation for 2023 so far, next to 4.7 percent in July.

As he invited more investors to the Philippines, Marcos noted putting up a favorable business environment at the center of his administration’s thrust to promote high-value investments.

He noted the ongoing amendments for the Public Service Act, Foreign Investments Act, Retail Trade Liberalization Act and the Renewable Energy Act IRR that paves the way to easier investment in the country.

Marcos said the government has also reformed the Philippines’ fiscal incentives structure through the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (Create) Act to attract both domestic and global firms to invest in strategically important sectors.

“Investments in rural areas and highly -- advanced and technology-enabled projects and activities are given top priority and, consequently, greater and longer incentives,” Marcos said.

“Investments in the digital space are also highly prioritized. Incentives are given to projects covering research and development and those adopting advanced digital production technologies such as, for example, artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing, data analytics, cloud computing, and nanotechnology,” he added.

Amid the country’s “massive infrastructure drive,” Marcos said reforms were also made under the public-private partnerships (PPP) framework to simplify the approval processes, ensure the viability and bankability of PPP projects, cut red tape, and pave the way for quality infrastructure development.

He noted the 80 potential infrastructure projects that are financeable through the country’s Maharlika Investment Fund (MIF) on top of the 197 infrastructure flagship projects worth around USD 155 billion with a sharp focus on upgrading physical and digital connectivity, water, agriculture, health, transport, and energy. (TPM/SunStar Philippines)

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