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Foreign groups push agenda

The Joint Foreign Chambers proposed an economic growth target of 10 percent and about $10 billion to $12 billion of foreign direct investments in the mid-term period starting in 2018 as guidance to the next administration. 

European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines vice president Henry Schumacher announced the group’s wish list for the succeeding president and elected government officials during the pre-briefing for the 5th Arangkada Forum on March 1, 2016.

“Good governance has been high on our agenda on the integrity initiative and looking at the last five years. This administration understood the value of having integrity and good governance. These are the visions we try to carry in the last four years and I think these justify all that can be achieved,” he said.

The forum in 2010 endorsed seven sectors that will push growth of the Philippines economy. These are agribusiness, business process outsourcing, creative industries, infrastructure, manufacturing and logistics, mining, and tourism, medical travel and retirement.

The group said it was proposing the same set of recommendations to the next government.

The group, Schumacher said, would continue to be critical of the required economic and political reforms, a task that the next Arangkada Forum will seek from the platforms of presidential candidates.

The JFC is calling for the government to respect the sanctity of contracts, relax restrictions on foreign investments, pursue trade treaties such as free trade agreements as well as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, implement tax reforms, deliver better judgment on traffic woes, put up more efficient broadband connection and increase foreign investments.

The group cited the current administration’s effort to attract foreign investments did not reach its target, although the Aquino government had the biggest FDI so far since the Marcos administration in 1970.

The FDI in 1970 stood at $117 million and increased to $644 million during the time of president Corazon Aquino in 1987 to 1992, $1.5 billion during president Fidel Ramos’s term, $1.74 billion in president Joseph Estrada’s administration, $1.54 billion during President Gloria Arroyo’s tenure; and $4 billion during the current administration.

Despite increased FDI, the JFC noted that business and economic reforms failed to move faster in the 16th Congress with about 17 laws approved compared with 34 in the 15th Congress.

JFC stressed the need to pass the Bangsamoro Basic law to render credence to the inclusive growth goal of the government.

“I also would like to highlight the importance of the peace process. The Bangsamoro Basic Law is very important if we want a truly inclusive growth,” said Schumacher.

Arangkada Philippines is the major advocacy of the Joint Foreign Chambers to increase investment and employment in the Philippines.

The JFC is a coalition of the American, Australian-New Zealand, Canadian, European, Japanese and Korean Chambers and the Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Headquarters, Inc. (PAMPURI).

The group represents over 3,000 member-companies engaged in over $230 billion worth of trade and about $30 billion of investments in the Philippines.

Topics: Joint Foreign Chambers , economic growth target , European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines , Henry Schumacher , 5th Arangkada Forum
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