PH could attract $75B in foreign investments

Posted at 01/25/2012 7:34 AM | Updated as of 01/25/2012 1:48 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Business groups belonging to the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) on Tuesday expressed confidence of increased foreign investments this year that could amount to $75 billion, with investors beginning to take notice of the administration’s policy reforms to improve the business climate.

Last year, the group forwarded to Malacañang 471 recommendations to propel the growth of seven “big winner sectors” in the country. It said the proposals, if implemented, would allow the country to attract about $75 billion in foreign direct investments (FDI).

 “The prospects look good for a growing economy in 2012 and I think foreign investments will increase substantially,” John Forbes, senior adviser of the American Chamber of Commerce, told the BusinessMirror.

He said the growing optimism was mirrored by the rising number of foreign companies asking how they could move their operations here.

Forbes said a major contributor to the improving investor confidence on the Philippines is the enthusiasm being shown by the government to implement the policy reforms that the JFC and other business associations forwarded to Malacañang in December 2010.

The proposed reforms were contained in the Arangkada Philippines 2010. It had 471 recommendations to propel the growth of the “Seven Big Winner Sectors” that were identified by the JFC: agribusiness, business-process outsourcing, creative industries, infrastructure, manufacturing and logistics, mining, and tourism, medical travel, and retirement.

“These reforms are starting to take effect,” Forbes said. On Thursday, the JFC will make public a 130-page First Anniversary Assessment that contains select charts and figures from Arangkada 2010 and the updated status of the 471 recommendations at a forum it is hosting at the Grand Ballroom of Marriott Hotel.

The First Anniversary Assessment document was prepared by 50 JFC experts.

“The assessment looks good,” Forbes said, although he refused to give further details.

Forbes said about 30 speakers will make their presentations at the event, with President Aquino delivering the keynote address. Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo will discuss “The Role of Foreign Investment in Philippine Economic Growth.” Former Finance Secretary Roberto de Ocampo and National Competitiveness Council Private Sector Co-Chairman Guillermo Luz will discuss key reforms and strategies that are needed to improve Philippine ranking in global surveys, respectively.

Forbes said since the release of the one-year assessment will be streamed live through the Arangkada Philippines web site, www.arangkadaphilippines.com there will be businessmen participating from outside the country as well, including the United States and Europe.

The Joint Foreign Chambers is expecting increased inflows of foreign capital into the country this year as investors begin to take note of the policy reforms that are being implemented by the Aquino administration to improve the business climate here.