European companies have invested EUR406.5 million (around P23.43 billion) in the Philippines last year, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said on Tuesday.
In a virtual investment roadshow for European businesses, Lopez said top investments from Europe that the country received last year were from the United Kingdom, Netherlands, and France.
“(T)he nature and quality of investments from European companies and business partnerships formed with our companies have helped move the Philippines up the value chain. In particular, we’ve advanced with regard to innovation-based manufacturing and high value technology-based services,” he said.
The DTI chief urged European companies to look into opportunities in the Philippines particularly in five key sectors —aerospace, automotive, copper, information technology and business process management (IT-BPM), and electronics sectors.
These sectors are the priority industries in DTI’s “Make It Happen in the Philippines” campaign.
He added the government is pursuing a more investor-friendly business climate in the country with the passing of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act, which lowers corporate income tax rate from 30 percent to 25 percent.
“As the Philippine economy recovers, we are confident of achieving our pre-pandemic growth rates and beyond. To this end, we are facilitating greater trade and investment by continuously pursuing reforms to foster a better business environment,” Lopez said.
DTI Undersecretary and Board of Investments (BOI) managing head Ceferino Rodolfo said European companies investing in the Philippines have good market access to other nations with the trade agreements that the country signed into.
Rodolfo said the country is benefiting from the generalized system of preferences (GSP) of the United States, and the European Union.
Even with Brexit, the country maintains the GSP+ benefits in the UK, he added.
As part of Asean, the Philippines also has better market access in participating countries in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Lopez said the country is also negotiating with South Korea for a bilateral free trade deal, as well as preferential trade agreements with India, Chile, Pakistan, and Turkey.
The DTI is also re-exploring the opportunities of joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. SOVEREIGNPH