THE Duterte administration has erased the lingering effects of the deadly 2010 Manila hostage crisis on trade, according to a group of Hong Kong businessmen.
Antony Chan, president of the Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc. (HKCCPI), said entrepreneurs from Hong Kong are now eyeing to invest in the Philippines with interest in tourism and manufacturing industries.
He added that businessmen have high confidence in the economic policy of President Rodrigo Duterte.
“We have a federation of Hong Kong businesses, composed of 41 associations in Asia, Europe and North America. We tell businessmen in other places that it’s time to invest in the Philippines,” Chan told reporters during a recent business gathering in Manila.
He surmised that the new government brings an opportunity for equal footing for local and foreign investors.
“We expect the same treatment for local and foreign investors,” Chan said. “The 60-40 investment [restriction]should be lifted in some industries like tourism and we are appealing that foreign investors be allowed land ownership.”
Under the 1987 Philippine Constitution, foreign ownership in the Philippines is limited to 40 percent and full ownership of corporations in the country is reserved only for Filipino citizens.
The President, however, is backing moves to relax constitutional restrictions on foreign ownership of business enterprises to attract more investors, but not real property.
Meanwhile, Chan said the Hong Kong Trade Organization is set to send a delegation from the Administrative Region to discuss advances in trade and economic relations with the Philippines.
“Now, you can see peace and order is improving a lot, more people are coming in, they have more confidence in the Philippines,” he added.
With the perceived improved situation in the country, the HKCCPI president sees more job opportunities for Filipinos that will eventually translate to increase in tax revenue for the government.
According to the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the Philippines is now the 14th largest export market for Hong Kong.
In 2015, Hong Kong imports from the Philippines increased by 10.3 percent to $7.2 billion.
With the lifting of a travel ban on the Philippines two years ago, Chan said, the investments from Hong Kong are now free to come in.