Bullish on Philippines as investment destination, foreign businesses up FDI target

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Ramon Royandoyan – Philstar.com

December 1, 2022 | 6:15pm

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign businesses proved increasingly bullish on the Philippine economy’s growth trajectory, setting a larger foreign investments target over the next decade. 

In a briefing on Thursday, the Joint Foreign Chambers said it revised its 2020 target of $50 billion in foreign direct investments to $128 billion by 2030. JFC added $78 billion to account for the “current levels of competitiveness.” 

The JFC is a seven-member body composed of business chambers from trading partners such the United States and Europe. 

The Philippines attracted a net inflow of FDI of $10.52 billion in 2021, surging 54.2%. 

In 2021, the country raked in a total of P192.34 billion FDI pledges. Foreign investments suffered in 2020 as they shrank 71.26% due in part to the historic economic meltdown from the pandemic.

Ebb Hinchliffe, executive director at American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, said that this was only possible due to the legislative performance in the past year. The former Duterte administration passed legislation such as the Public Services Act, which eased foreign ownership restrictions on certain sectors.

“I spent a summer in Washington, DC for three weeks just telling people that the Philippines is open for business. Here’s why and I outlined all these bills,” he said in the briefing. 

Despite that, Hinchliffe said that $128 billion is an “under-estimate.”

The JFC also reaffirmed its previous target of generating 3 million jobs in the country between 2021 to 2030.  Hinchliffe said that job creation will not eke out the same ratios within sectors, as some sectors made room for automation.

“We saw a lot of foreign investment into the BPO industry, what we need now is investments into the manufacturing sector and some of the other sectors,” he said.

The JFC and its partner Philippine business groups are batting for 24 priority bills in the 19th Congress. Rounding out the top five in the list is the liberalization of foreign equity restrictions in the Philippine Constitution, which would boost the attractiveness of the country as an investment destination.

JFC is also advocating for lowering the cost of entry for data service providers, modernizing tax administration, boosting digital payments systems and amendments to the CREATE and PEZA Act to allow flexible work schemes.

Read More: Bullish on Philippines as investment destination, foreign businesses up FDI target

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