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20/10/2015: PH SET TO UNLOCK FULL ECONOMIC POTENTIAL WITH US

PRESS RELEASE
WDC-066-2015
20 October 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C.— With continued economic growth and unprecedented levels of international business confidence, the Philippines is ready to tap into the full potential of its economic relationship with the United States.

This was the message of the private sector delegation from Manila as it kicked off the 4th Philippine Private Sector-led Investment Roadshow in Pittsburgh, PA on 19 October 2015.

The topnotch business delegation led by Dr. Bernardo Villegas, Visiting Professor at IESE Business School in Barcelona, and Professor at the University of Asia and the Pacific, includes Mr. Engelbert Camasura, Partner at Ward Howell International Consulting Firm; Mr. Ronaldo Elepaño, 1st Vice President for Business Development International at DM Consunji, Inc.; Mr. Jose Mari Mercado, President and CEO of the Information Technology & Business Process Association of the Philippines; and Mr. Juan Olondriz Peña, President of RAJI INC. The delegation was accompanied by Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr.; Atty. Jose Victor Chan-Gonzaga, the Embassy’s Economic Minister; Philippine Consul General Mario L. De Leon, Jr.; and Mr. JP Iñigo, representative of the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in New York.

According to Ambassador Cuisia, the Philippines and the US have economic ties based on shared values, which can be further strengthened by more American investments in the Philippines.

“The Philippines and the US are natural business partners because of our shared values. We are host to some 600 American companies and their affiliates and I continue to invite more US businesses to set up operations in the Philippines in the priority sectors of Information Technology and Business Process Management, Infrastructure, Tourism, and Manufacturing,” said Ambassador Cuisia.

Record level macroeconomic and stock market performances, credit ratings upgrades, improvements in competitiveness rankings, record-high levels of foreign direct investment, a growing demand of world class Filipino talent, and an unprecedented level of international business confidence stemming from good governance are more reasons for the US to do business in the Philippines.

In his presentation, Dr. Villegas, one of the Philippines’ most prominent economists, identified “a stable democracy, improved governance, strong macroeconomic fundamentals, an educated, young and English-speaking labor force, and OFW remittances as positive trends contributing to the Philippines becoming one of the emerging markets.” He also added that “the Philippines is in a demographic sweet spot with the young and growing population being the main source of our competitive advantage.”

The international community is paying attention to these improvements, as shown by various global reports and indexes.

“The World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index for 2015-2016 just ranked the Philippines 47 out of 140 economies. Up five notches from the previous year’s ranking, this assessment highlights the Philippines’ favorable macroeconomic environment, capacity for innovation, and business sophistication,” said Ambassador Cuisia.

He added, “The American Chamber of Commerce also released its 2016 ASEAN Business Outlook Survey, which indicated 81 percent [of businesses surveyed] believed that their profit outlook in the Philippines is going to increase, while 14 percent said that it would stay the same and 5 percent said that it would decrease. Moreover, 71 percent of respondents plan to expand in the Philippines and 67 percent indicated that they expect their workforce to increase in 2015.”

The Manila delegation was resolute in their presentations that the Philippines is prepared to unlock its full economic potential. They were unanimous in saying that the Philippine economy not only has a lot to offer today but also has a lot to look forward to in the near future and in the coming decades.

The ASEAN Economic Community, with the Economic Integration meeting happening this year, presents many opportunities for business and investment in the near future.

ASEAN has a combined nominal GDP of US$2.4 trillion, and would collectively rank as the world’s seventh largest economy. GDP growth for 2015 is forecast by the Asian Development Bank at 5.1 percent. US investment alone in ASEAN was almost $190 billion in 2012, and growing at an average annual rate of 9 percent. And with a combined population of some 625 million people, its transformation into a single market will unlock a massive amount of economic opportunities,” said Ambassador Cuisia.

According to estimates of Dr. Villegas, the Philippines will experience growth rates of 7 to 10 percent in the next decade, which the professor says is a positive result of over 25 years of slow and painful reforms. Citing an HSBC Global Research Report predicting that the country will be the 16th largest economy in the world by 2050, Dr. Villegas also stated that “it is even possible for the Philippines to become a developed country in 20-30 years.”

“Since our geographic location also puts us at the center of the most dynamic region for the next 50-100 years, we can be the gateway of the Pacific to South East Asia, and to greater Asia,” said Ambassador Cuisia.

The conference in Pittsburgh is the first leg in a three-city Private Sector-led Investment Roadshow and was made possible with the cooperation of the Philippine Consulate General in New York, Philippine Trade and Investment Center in New York, the Allegheny Conference on Community Development led by Executive Vice President Mr. Bill Flanagan, and the Filipino American Association of Pittsburgh.

Ambassador Cuisia likewise had a meeting with Pittsburgh City Mayor William Peduto and attended a dinner hosted by the Filipino American Association of Pittsburgh.

The delegation will visit Dallas/Fort Worth on 21 October before they head to Seattle for the final leg of the roadshow on 23 October. Ambassador Cuisia will also address the Greater Dallas American Chamber of Commerce and the Dallas/Fort Worth World Affairs Council on 20 and 21 October, respectively. ###