By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
Senior executives of US firms operating in the ASEAN region holding bilateral meetings with top Philippine government officials are expected to push for a status quo on the country’s macroeconomic policies, including fiscal, monetary and trade, as well as further liberalization of the domestic industries to foreign participation.
Stability of the country’s macroeconomic policies highlights the objectives of the visiting members of the US-ASEAN Business Council, the pre-eminent representative of American business in Southeast Asia, which is holding their annual three-day Philippine Business Mission starting today.
The mission would seek for greater US company participation in policy exchange supporting flagship programs under the 10-Point Economic Agenda of the Duterte Administration and driving innovation to achieve sustainability and inclusive growth goals.
The Council will hold bilateral meetings with senior government officials and other priority stakeholders. Members will meet with 14 heads of various line agencies of the government and call on the Senate President and the Speaker of the Lower House. They will also meet with representatives of Asian Development Bank.
Aside from stable and continued macroeconomic policies objective, the group would also push for the Duterte administration to institute progressive tax reform and more effective tax collection, indexing taxes to inflation.
The group would like to see improvement in the country’s competitiveness and ease of doing business.
It would also push for the acceleration of annual infrastructure spending to account for 5 percent of GDP, with public-private partnership playing a key role.
In addition, the group is expected to promote open and free trade and address investment barriers by undertaking domestic reforms via the Public Service Act, Foreign Investment Negative List and the economic provisions of the 1987 Constitution.
American executives are also interested in the country’s free trade agreements including the US-PH FTA, TIFA framework, international trade policy, Philippines’ ASEAN initiatives, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, and WTO government procurement.
They would also lobby for stronger US-Philippines relationship, defense strategic partnership, and USAID projects.
On the last day of the three-day visit, the American CEOs will have an option to join a visit to Clark and meet with Transport Secretary Arthur Tugade.
As representative of American businesses in the region, the lobby group works across all the 10-member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), representing more than 125 major US corporations.
Its membership includes companies who have been active in Southeast Asia for a century or more to newcomers looking to expand their presence in one of the world’s most dynamic markets.
The council’s sectoral working groups, including Customs, Defense & Security, Energy, Financial Services, Food and Agriculture, Health & Life Sciences, Information & Communications Technology, Infrastructure and Manufacturing, bring together the top companies in their fields to enable high-level dialogues that help resolve issues and drive innovation and investment.
With long-established personal and professional relationships in ASEAN and Washington, the Council is the most effective conduit between decision-makers on both sides of the Pacific and a fantastic place to build your career.