By Chino S. Leyco
The Philippines wants to attract more investments from Japan as the two countries further deepen their bilateral relations, the Department of Finance (DOF) said yesterday.
In a televised speech from Tokyo, Japan, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said the Philippines wants more intensive cooperation with the Japanese as well as secure additional investments, particularly in infrastructure and industry.
“There are numerous investment possibilities open to our regional partners,” Dominguez said. “We have expanded our PPP [public private partnership] program to include unsolicited proposals for potential investors.”
Dominguez particularly cited the energy and transport sectors that need more investments, while Philippine banks are also seeking for new partners and the countries’ major industries are open to new joint ventures.
“With the growth momentum, low inflation rate, stable currency, and strong political leadership, the Philippines earnestly opens our doors to business with our neighbors,” the finance chief said.
He added the Duterte administration has also taken decisive steps to improve the ease of doing business in the country.
Coincidentally, the World Bank reported yesterday that the Philippines moved up four notches this year to No. 99 out of 190 economies and ranked seventh among 10 ASEAN member-countries in the annual Ease of Doing Business report.
The Philippines’ performance improved in four of the 10 Ease of Doing Business indicators, slipped in four others, and remained the same in the remaining two criteria.
“We will respond helpfully to assist the inflow of investments. Next year, we will be opening the areas for investments that have been administratively limited, this will be done in May, 2017,” Dominguez said.
“For the near future, the president has called for a constitutional convention to open up those areas of the economy that are limited by our constitution, with the exception of land ownership,” he added.
Dominguez also said that the government expects the domestic market to expand dramatically, which will translate into growth opportunities for traditional sectors, such as food processing.
“We are likewise seeking new markets for our exports, through regional partnerships. We envision the growth of trade volumes between Philippines and Japan. Tourism is a key contributor to the dynamic economic growth we anticipate,” Dominguez said.
“In order to grow our tourism, we need new investments in tourism facilities, in this area we have found strong support among our neighbors in the region,” he added.