By Chino S. Leyco
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III has discussed anew ways to further heighten cooperation on trade and investments between the Philippines and Mexico in his recent meeting with Mexican Ambassador to Manila Julio Camarena Villaseñor.
The meeting focused on Mexico’s concerns regarding the pending concurrence by the Philippine Senate with the agreement on the avoidance of double taxation, which also includes an exchange of information on tax matters between the two countries to combat tax evasion. They also discussed Mexico’s proposal to do away with the triangulation of the exchange rate between the Philippine peso and Mexican peso, which means that the two currencies are traded in the forex market without having to go through the US dollar conversion process.
“Our portfolio in the Philippines is getting bigger and bigger. This agreement (on the avoidance of double taxation) is very important,” the Mexican ambassador told Dominguez during their meeting. Also with Ambassador Camarena at the meeting was Coca-Cola FEMSA president Fabricio Ponce.
Coca-Cola FEMSA is the largest franchise bottler of Coca-Cola products in the world, and also in the beer industry through its ownership of the second largest equity stake in Heineken.
Camarena said that aside from Coca-Cola FEMSA, other Mexican companies like cement and building materials manufacturer Cemex and the appliance company Mabe also have substantial investments in the Philippines.
“The investments of Mexico has reached the $6 billion figure in the Philippines,” Camarena said. Dominguez said he will immediately take up the double taxation issue with the Senate, which has yet to concur with the agreement.
The finance chief also agreed with Mexico’s proposal on scrapping the triangulation of exchange rate between the currencies of the two countries.
“We will make sure that we’ll follow it through (with the Senate),” Dominguez assured the ambassador.
The agreement on double taxation avoidance with respect to taxes on income and the prevention of tax evasion was signed between the Philippines and Mexico in 2015. The Philippine Senate has yet to concur with the accord.
Camarena said he is “looking forward to discussions” on Mexico’s proposals to improve bilateral trade and investments with the Philippines with Secretary Ramon Lopez of the Department of Trade and Industry and officials of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.