By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) will conduct a series of investment roadshows in the Middle East, promoting investments in at least 60 new economic zones in preparation for the visit of President Duterte to the oil-rich Arab states next month.
Duterte is tentatively scheduled for a Middle East trip on February 26 to March 3 covering Riyadh, Qatar and Dubai for the first leg and Bahrain, Oman and Kuwait for the second leg.
PEZA Director-General Charito Plaza told a press conference that investment seminars will be held on Feb. 11 and 12 in Riyadh, 13 and 14 in Dubai and 15 and 16 in Qatar.
The investment roadshows are meant to finalize business deals.
“Hopefully we will find a match especially for the Mindanao region and sign MOUs during the President’s trip,” Plaza said.
Last year, PEZA approved 60 new economic zones. Thirty new ecozones are awaiting Presidential proclamation.
Plaza said a list, mapping out the new ecozones in the country will be ready by end this month. PEZA will present these new ecozones to prospective Middle East investors.
Initially, businessmen from the Middle East have indicated interests to invest in agricultural economic zones and establishment of halal hubs for food, clothing and cosmetics.
Since PEZA had initiated talks with the sheiks and businessmen of the Middle East, Plaza said the Department of Foreign Affairs would like the agency to finalize some business deals and investments.
Already, PEZA had conducted a seminar on sukuk bonds (Islamic bonds) for local businesses led by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry and local government units to be able to tap Middle Eastern investments.