The recent visit of a 19-member Singaporean business delegation to the Philippines is expected to increase cross-border trade and investment between the two countries that could result in more jobs for Filipinos as more projects materialize.
“As we sustain economic growth, we are able work and talk with you in terms of areas for Singapore and the Philippines to expand, invest in infrastructure, and focus on connectivity in our regions,” DTI Undersecretary Ponciano C. Manalo, Jr. said during the recent trade and investment briefing for the Philippines-Singapore Business Council (PSBC) business mission.
Singaporean investments are mostly in areas such as health, resilience to natural disaster, shipbuilding, business process management (BPM), information technology (IT) services, electronics manufacturing services, aerospace development and aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services.
“The business community in the Philippines and Singapore can work strongly to provide outside investments for Singapore. At the same time, it is our goal to provide inclusive growth to Filipinos,” Manalo said.
He noted that Philippine exports are mainly electronics, accounting for 40 percent of the country’s total exports. In the last two months, Philippine electronics exports grew by 24 percent from US$2.95 billion in the same period last year.
The business delegation’s visit was in line with the four-day state visit of Singapore President Tony Tan Keng Yam to the Philippines, who met with President Benigno S. Aquino 3rd as well as with Filipino and Singaporean businessmen.
“We are confident that our trip will contribute toward strengthening economic ties between the two countries,” Loh Chin Hua, PSBC Singapore co-chair and head of business delegation, said during the briefing.
“This trip is also timely since the Philippines is in a robust growth phase. The World Bank has acknowledged that in the past few years the Philippine economy has outperformed the rest of East Asia and its Southeast Asian neighbors of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand,” Loh said.
Loh added that driven by rising domestic demand, robust government spending, and political stability, the Philippine economy continues to be resilient amidst the uncertain global climate.
“Moving forward, I am confident there will be more opportunities for collaboration across different business sectors between our two business communities,” Loh said.
The PSBC was launched in Singapore in October 1994. The council’s objectives are to identify and develop areas of cooperation between both countries’ private sectors; to encourage and develop further investment in both the Philippines and Singapore; to encourage and develop the trade links between both countries; to encourage joint exploration of business opportunities in third countries; to identify business opportunities, particularly at the level of small and medium sized enterprises; and to enhance networking, contacts, and exchange between the private sectors of both countries.
In 2013, Singapore was the Philippines’ fourth largest trading partner, fifth biggest export market, and sixth largest import source. It was also the Philippines’ fifth biggest source of investments, and seventh largest source of remittances.