Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III told American businessmen that now is the “best time” to invest in the Philippines, which is poised to become Asia’s next economic powerhouse.
Dominguez, speaking before members of the United States Chamber of Commerce in Washington D.C., said US companies could explore opportunities in the energy, infrastructure, information and communications, technology, health, and education sectors to strengthen the bilateral ties between the two countries.
“Our prospects for faster economic growth in the coming years should be an avenue for stronger collaboration with the US, especially with the private sector. We would like to encourage US businesses to be more engaged in the Philippine market not only in the infrastructure program but also in investments that would come as a result of our infrastructure development,” Dominguez said during a roundtable lunch with USSC members.
Among the USSC officials who attended the roundtable lunch were senior vice president for Asia Charles Freeman, executive director for Southeast Asia John Goyer and senior manager for Southeast Asia Javiera Gallardo.
They were joined by top executives from Texas Instruments, Coca Cola, TransUnion, Proctor & Gamble, Dow, Cargill, Fluor, Philip Morris International and IBM.
Dominguez said the Philippines was now in a promising position to become “Asia’s next powerhouse” as a result of its rapid economic expansion sustained by tough reforms and record investments in infrastructure and human capital development.
He said to further build investor confidence, the Duterte administration was undertaking efforts to address government inefficiency, the infrastructure gap, official corruption and the high cost of doing business.
The signing into law of the Ease of Doing Business Act and the administration’s push for the swift congressional approval of the Tax Reform for Attracting Better and Higher Quality Opportunities bill are among the measures being undertaken by the Duterte administration to further enhance the Philippines’ status as a premier investment destination in the region, he said.
“You are looking at a Philippines that is invigorated and moving forward very quickly,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez reassured USSC members that as far as the Trabaho bill was concerned, the government would not remove fiscal incentives but would even improve these investment perks.
He said there was a need to correct the current convoluted system where 14 investment promotion agencies were granting incentives that did not have any time limit nor performance indicators.
Dominguez said that under the Trabaho bill, reforms would be put in place to ensure that incentives were performance-based, specifically targeted, transparent and time-bound so that the Philippines could attract investors that focus on robotics, big data analysis and industries of the future.
The Duterte administration is also seeking the congressional approval of reforms to modernize the country’s outmoded real property valuation system and simplify tax rates for capital income and other financial instruments, Dominguez said.
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