Asia Pacific-based American CEOs urged to invest in PHL as economy improves

MANILA, March 31 (PNA) — American chief executive officers in Asia Pacific region were urged to invest in the Philippines as the country enhances its business environment and continues to improve its economy.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said in a press statement Monday that Trade and Investment Promotions Group (TIPG) Undersecretary Ponciano Manalo, Jr. has invited American business executives during the 2014 Asia-Pacific Council of American Chambers of Commerce (APCAC) Spring Summit in Makati City to diversify and expand their ventures in the Philippines as the country continues to create economic momentum pushed by the policy of good governance and ease of doing business of the current administration.

“Our investment landscape has improved significantly. The fundamentals for growth are substantial. The Philippines is operating on a favorable economic backdrop,” Manalo told American CEOs.

He mentioned the 7.2 percent gross domestic product (GDP) growth of the country last year, the second fastest growing economy next to China. The GDP growth in 2013 is higher than the previous year’s growth rate of 6.8 percent.

The country is also becoming more competitive as it improved in seven out of eight major global competitiveness reports and was stable in one report last year.

The DTI official also cited that the country managed to increase its merchandise exports, foreign direct investments, and inbound visiting companies while keeping the inflation rate not higher than the government’s target.

“Our external position is robust with US$ 82.6 billion gross reserves providing cushion to extreme shocks and adequate coverage for 12 months’ worth of imports of goods and payment of services and income,” Manalo said.

The Philippines also received investment grade ratings from three big international credit rating agencies such as Fitch Ratings, Standard and Poor’s, and Moody’s.

Further, Manalo noted that the country has been developing its trade policy through multilateral and regional fora such as World Trade Organization (WTO), Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and ASEAN.

On ASEAN integration which will take place in 2015, he mentioned that the Philippines has reached 87.2 percent of its targets for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) blueprint.

”The government is closely engaging with the European Union and European Free Trade Association (EFTA) for possible bilateral free trade agreements; on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP), the United States is playing an instrumental role for the Philippines as we aim to become party to this 21st century free trade agreement,” the department added.

“I believe and we expect that trade and investment between the Philippines and ASEAN and between the Philippines and the U.S. will continue to grow as we open more areas of trade cooperation between the U.S. and the Philippines,” Manalo stressed.

Meanwhile, this year’s APCAC was hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham) with about 350 American CEOs venturing in the Asia Pacific region.

APCAC theme this year focused on America’s role in dynamic environment and Asia’s resurgence following United States President Barack Obama’s rebalance to Asia.

The APCAC represents more than 40,000 business executives and over 6,000 business entities in 28 regional countries and cities. (PNA)