ECCP at Work

ECCP@Work Featured Articles | January 31, 2023

January 31, 2023

ECCP Online

ECCP at Work

ECCP launches guidebook on Doing Business in Philippines

The ECCP expects billions of dollars worth of FDIs to enter the country, driven by economic reforms implemented by the Philippines. This was shared by ECCP president Lars Wittig at the press launch of the Doing Business in the Philippines publication yesterday. The ECCP cited the passage of key economic reforms such as the passage of the amendments to the Foreign Investment Act, Retail Trade Liberalization Act, and Public Service Act, as well as the relaxation of the foreign participation limitation in the renewable energy sector, as the driver of optimism among European business leaders and officials for higher FDIs in the country.

Philippines plans to forge more trade deals

The Philippines is targeting to have more free trade agreements (FTAs) with various countries as the country continues to work on potential agreements. In an interview with reporters, Trade Assistant Secretary for Industry Development and Trade Policy Allan Gepty said  there is a need for the   Philippines  to expand its FTA network, adding that the majority of the country’s FTAs are anchored on regional ones such as the ASEAN+1 FTA. “We are now embarking on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with the UAE  and that we are also working on a possible preferential trade agreement with India,” Gepty said.

Congress urged to reconsider bill on transport safety board 

Congress is being urged to approve a bill creating the Philippine Transportation Safety Board (PTSB), especially after technical glitches in the country’s air traffic system led to the shutdown of Philippine airspace earlier this month. In a joint statement, seven members of the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC), as well as the Safe Travel Alliance (STA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said the 19th Congress should reconsider the PTSB bill. “The recent incident involving the Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) and the alleged faulty air traffic management system has brought air transportation safety — and transportation safety, in general — in the spotlight. It was a strong reminder of the need to pass legislation creating the PTSB,” they said.

Fitch Solutions sees PH economic growth slowing down in ’23

Philippine economic growth is expected to wane in 2023 after overshooting the government’s own target and most forecasts, particularly as household consumption that drove expansion in 2022 may not be sustained. Fitch Solutions said in its latest outlook report on the Philippines dated Jan. 26 that it was maintaining its growth forecast at 5.9 percent for this year. The think tank said the 7.2-percent fourth-quarter growth and the 7.6-percent full-year expansion in 2022 that brought gross domestic product above prepandemic levels was partly due to base effects—relatively low previous numbers that were easy to surpass. “High inflation alongside continued and significant monetary tightening is also likely to weigh on domestic economic activity in the coming quarters,” Fitch Solutions said.

After airport fiasco, JFC pitches transport safety board anew

Following the recent incident involving the NAIA, the seven members of the JFC joined by other business groups called on the House and Senate to reconsider the bill creating the Philippine Transportation Safety Board (PTSB) and approve the same in the 19th Congress. Other business groups that prodded the two chambers of the legislative branch to take another look at the bill creating the PTSB are the Safe Travel Alliance (STA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA). The business groups said the incident was a “strong reminder” of the need to pass legislation creating the Philippine Transportation Safety Board (PTSB). The groups that called for the reconsideration of the bill include ECCP.

VAT refund program expected to boost tourist spending

The Philippine government’s move to grant value-added tax (VAT) refunds for foreign tourists is expected to boost the tourism industry’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. is expected to issue an executive order to implement the VAT refund program for foreign tourists by 2024, Malacañang said on Sunday. No details were given. “The VAT refund for tourists can (encourage) tourists to spend more here in the Philippines as this practice is also done in many developed economies with huge arrival figures,” John Paolo R. Rivera, an economist at the Asian Institute of Management, said.

Agriculture lobby expects limited downside to RCEP signing delay

Further delay in joining the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal would be “prudent” in light of the struggles of the agriculture industry, with consequences of late joining expected to be mild, industry representatives said. “I believe that it is prudent to further delay the (trade deal) ratification. The Philippine economy, at this time and a couple of years from now, may still be wobbly,” Roy S. Kempis, retired Pampanga State Agricultural University professor, said. The Philippines is still in the process of recovering from the pandemic, he added, while newly-elected members of government continue to work towards political and economic stability.

DOE to issue new ESS policy

The Department of Energy (DOE) plans to come out by February a new policy on energy storage systems (ESS), a move seen to support further the development of renewable energy in the country. “Based on the target timeline provided by our Electric Power Industry Management Bureau colleagues, the target issuance is on Feb. 14. Hopefully it can be signed before Feb. 14,” DOE Assistant Secretary Mylene Capongcol said. Deadline for submission of comments and recommendations on the draft circular issued by the DOE prescribing the policy for ESS in the electric power industry is set on Feb. 3.

Philippines urged to invest in training for tech entrepreneurship  

Investing in the development of education infrastructure and providing training in technology entrepreneurship are some areas that the Philippines must work on to be able to attract more foreign firms to set up technology hubs in the country, according to a Japanese cloud-based solutions provider. “The Philippines has an opportunity to attract more foreign companies to set up tech hubs in the country that serve the wider ASEAN region, especially for software development and engineering talent,” Sansan  Inc. executive officer and head of overseas establishment Fujikura Shigemoto told The STAR in an email interview. “This will be a boost to foreign direct investment into the country’s economy, supporting the government’s agenda,” he said.

Biz groups: PH needs transpo safety board

Seven members of the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) together with the Safe Travel Alliance (STA) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) called on the House and Senate to reconsider the bill creating the Philippine Transportation Safety Board and subsequently approve the same bill in the 19th Congress. JFC members including ECCP issued the call Monday. In a letter sent by the members of the JFC to the Senate Public Services and House Transportation Committees, amid ongoing congressional hearings on the recent airport fiasco, the JFC expressed support for the creation of the PTSB. Currently, all investigations on transportation accidents are undertaken by the government agencies that have regulatory powers over the respective sector of the transportation industry.

Marcos signs EO adopting dev’t plan 

PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. has signed an executive order (EO) adopting the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2023-2028, which he said will help the country achieve its goal of becoming an upper middle-income economy by 2025. “(PDP) is a plan that will set the Philippines towards becoming an upper middle-income country by the year 2025. But beyond economic development, the plan also focuses on social development and protection, disaster resilience, digital transformation and many other things,” Mr. Marcos said during the “From Plan to Action: PDP 2023-2028 Forum” in Pasay City on Monday. The Philippines is currently classified as a lower middle-income country by the World Bank. It earlier targeted to graduate to upper middle-income status by 2022, but this was derailed by the coronavirus pandemic. Under the PDP, the government targets 6-7% gross domestic product (GDP) growth this year, and 6.5-8% from 2024 to 2028. It also aims to lower the unemployment rate to 4-5% by 2028.

Flagship list weighs project readiness, job creation

THE “readiness” of projects as well as their contribution to the creation of high-quality jobs are among the criteria that the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) will use to parse the long list of infrastructure projects eyed for inclusion in the administration’s own “flagship” projects. On Monday, Neda Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan told reporters on the sidelines of the formal launch of the Philippine Development Plan (PDP), that Neda has received a number of priority projects from various agencies and Regional Development Councils (RDCs) for the Public Investment Program (PIP). Out of the PIP, the accompanying document of the PDP that outlines the projects and programs to be undertaken to meet the medium-term development objectives of the government, the government will carve out a shorter list to be dubbed the Marcos administration’s flagship projects.

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