By Janice M. Cave
MANILA, Oct. 9 (PNA) – The Philippines is “a great investment destination and gateway” for the Taiwanese business sector to do business in the ASEAN region, a high-ranking Taiwan official said Thursday evening.
During the celebration of Taiwan National Day at Hotel Sofitel Thursday evening, Dr. Gary Song-Huann Lin, the representative of Taiwan to the Philippines, cited the country’s huge population dividend, impressive domestic market, young and well-educated labor force, abundant natural resources and geographical proximity to Taiwan as among the vital factors in considering the Philippines as a lucrative business market.
He said bilateral relations between the Philippines and Taiwan are “cordial and strong” and economies of both countries complement each other. The wide range of cooperative relations is beyond trade and investment, but also agriculture, fisheries, banking, mining, electric power, pharmaceuticals, food processing, the electronics, telecommunications, labor, tourism, science, information communications technology (ICT) and education.
He said Taiwan is the Philippine’s 6th largest destination of export, 9th largest trading partner and the Philippines is ranked as Taiwan’s 11th largest trading partner. Bilateral trade volume increased from USD 6.05 billion in 2009 to USD11.60 billion in 2014, almost double in trade volume.
In terms of investments, Taiwan has made significant contributions to the jobs creation and the economic growth of the Philippines. In 2014, Taiwan is the 7th largest foreign investor in the Philippines. There are over 6000 Taiwanese businessman operating nearly 600 companies in the Philippines.
Many Taiwanese companies have also expanded their investments in the Philippines. These are: Cathay Life Insurance Co. acquired 20% stake in Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) for Php 17.92 billion; the Cathay United Bank had a grand opening on 1st October 2015; Yuanta Bank has already acquired Tongyang Savings Bank Inc. (Philippines); the Kinpo Electronics Inc. has invested Php 1.4 billion in the Philippines to further expand its Batangas facilities; Taiwan’s 7-Eleven has formed joint venture with its licensee the Philippine Seven Corporation and posted a 28% growth on its net income amounting to Php 873 million for 2014; and Taiwan’s leading medical device manufacturer, the Bioteque Corporation has also started construction of its factory in the Philippines, which will be operational soon.
With these developments, Lin sought the support of the Philippines in the signing of Philippines-Taiwan Economic Cooperation Agreement (ECA) and the participation of Taiwan in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP).
As such, he expressed hope to further strengthen economic relations between the neighboring countries.(PNA)