Investor confidence toward the Philippines is still on an uptrend, as evidenced by the increasing number of missions visiting the country, among others.
From January to June this year, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said that it was approached by 260 companies interested in putting up businesses in the Philippines, while there was a 71.3-percent jump in the number of inbound trade missions to the country.
“The DTI recorded a total of 363 companies and organizations inbound missions in the country for the first semester of this year,” said Ponciano Manalo, DTI undersecretary.
Besides European countries and US sending trade missions to the Philippines, groups of businessmen from Japan, India, Australia and Malaysia also looked into economic and business exchanges in the country for the first half of the year. Information technology and business processing management lead the sectors and industry of interest for visiting foreign businessmen.
Furthermore, the country’s automotive, construction, energy, electronics, tourism, shipbuilding and even aerospace industries also received interest from foreign firms.
“Given the current investment climate, we are expecting more investment upgrades in the coming months,” Manalo said.
He said that US and Europe economic crises gave way to investments of Western companies to other potential markets, particularly in Asian countries.
Six projects are in the offing from the inbound foreign visits, totaling to $87.2 million and is seen to employ more than 1,500 people.
Other than the investments, Manalo said that “there are also a lot [of companies]interested in buying and importing Filipino products.”
Set for fast growth
Meanwhile, Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo said that the Philippines has been “doing very well” in terms of gross domestic product growth and investments, and is “in the verge of having fastest growth rates since 1947.”
He emphasized that the construction sector is experiencing double-digit growth rates, and the manufacturing sector is catching up and developing for the “first time in a long time”—posting a 9.7-percent growth for the first half of the year.
“This will not be happening without massive inflation of investments . . . inbound investments coming in are nonstop,” Domingo added.
According to Board of Investments (BOI) records, a total of P201.9-billion worth of investments approvals were made in the first half of the year, surpassing the P165.5 billion a year ago for a 22-percent increase.
Foreign investment commitments in the country, on the other hand, skyrocketed by 352 percent to P47.1 billion in the first half of the year compared to the year-ago level of P10.4 billion.
“The mid-year figures show a remarkable increase in foreign participation in BOI-approved projects—a clear sign of growing foreign investor confidence in our economy,” said Adrian Cristobal Jr., DTI undersecretary and BOI managing head.
Also, Mindanao—being a critical zone for investments in the country—posted improvements in investments with P71.2 billion for the first half of the year, a 35-percent increase from the same period last year.
Mindanao investments are focused more on building or developing power plants such as coal-fired, hydropower and solar. Palm oil manufacturing, and processing and production of canned fish are also among investments made into Mindanao.
Cristobal added that the ongoing power projects in Mindanao are channeled more into “underdeveloped geographic areas of the country and into critical sectors,” and will contribute to the reduction of power costs in Mindanao.