GERMANY plans to explore areas of investment partnerships with the Philippines, including providing technology for infrastructure and transportation projects, the European economic giant’s envoy to Manila has said.
In a roundtable discussion with The Manila Times editorial team last week, German Ambassador Gordon Kricke also said German businessmen were interested and ready to invest in business process outsourcing and manufacturing in the Philippines.
Gricke urged the Duterte government to fulfill its vow to cut bureaucratic red tape and improve business conditions.
Germany is the Philippines’ largest trading partner in the European Union. The bloc is largest investor in the Philippines, accounting for a third of approved investments that support over 500,000 jobs in the country. Germany’s total trade with the Philippines stood at €4.7 billion in 2015.
“There are a lot of activities. There’s also a lot of investment but it could be more. Because if you compare it with Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam, there is a lot of potential [in the Philippines],” Kricke said. “[The partnership] is quite substantial but it could be much more.”
The envoy said it would be up to the Philippines to make “concrete proposals” for more economic opportunities. “Both sides have to exert more effort,” he said.
Michael Hasper, deputy head of mission of the German Embassy, said Berlin was looking to “support economic development” in the Philippines under a new policy to “concentrate more in Asia.”
“We are very well known for infrastructure and so we can do a lot in this field. This is the field where we are quite active in Asia, and there are so many others,” he said.
But the Philippines needs to ease up on foreign investment restrictions, Hasper said.
“You have to open up more. You have to give more possibilities to investors,” he said.
The German diplomats also said Germany’s development banks were eyeing more investments in the Philippines.
“There are German development banks investing here in the Philippines. For instance, the small companies, we try to give them financial support. This is what we are doing. We have to support the economic development though business,” Hasper said.
Development assistance from Germany reached €47 million (about P2.5 billion) in 2014.
Gricke said Berlin was open to greater financial cooperation.
“The Philippines is a very relevant and important partner for us in many aspects. The Philippines and Germany, traditionally, we have very, very close relations,” Kricke said.