April 25, 2023
European businesses in Taiwan are looking at expanding into the Philippines and the possible recruitment of Filipino talent given the prevailing geopolitical tensions with mainland China.
According to European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) Executive Director Florian Gottein, a European Chamber of Commerce of Taiwan delegation flew to the Philippines earlier this month to scope possible ventures.
“They’re also looking to the Philippines for different reasons, obviously, because of the geopolitical situation as well. They are also looking into microelectronics, semiconductors in particular,” he said in a chance interview in Makati City.
Gottein said a number of the firms are also looking to expand and diversify outside mainland China, with the Philippines being one of the possible host countries.
“Some of the companies want to explore the Philippines because even some of their members have operations in mainland China. They’re also diversifying out of it,” he said.
“I mean, I’m not saying that they are now shutting down everything in China and Taiwan and they’re looking at countries such as the Philippines to completely relocate. They want to diversify given the overall situation,” he added.
China and self-ruled Taiwan are currently facing tensions, with Beijing pushing for unification. Beijing earlier this month launched military drills around Taiwan, which Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen denounced.
Earlier this month Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said that if the Philippines cared for the 150,000 overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) in Taiwan, it would oppose ‘Taiwan independence’ rather than giving the United States access to military bases near the Taiwan strait.
For his part, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. admitted that he was surprised by the recent remarks, but said that this could be due to the “difference of language” and that the statements may have been misinterpreted.
Gottein said some of the businesses looking to expand already had a footprint in the Philippines, while some are looking to attract Filipino talent to Taiwan, which currently has an aging population.
“Taiwan is a very senior population already, and they are really looking into the Philippines to get more talent outside also the usual sectors such as hospitality and medical care, so we’re looking into other sectors as well,” he said.
Gottein is set to fly to Europe in June to touch base with potential investors and follow up with companies which met with the Philippine delegation in Brussels last December.
The ECCP in December also said major European firms in the renewable energy sector were looking at entering the Philippine market, including leaders of the billion-dollar industry.
“We are still in touch with them. Actually, some of them have been here already. We have been doing some market entry studies for them,” Gottein said.
“There is now really a lot of things happening almost on a weekly basis… A lot of things are happening at different stages, but what I can tell you is there’s now more interest,” he added.
The Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines (JFC), which counts the ECCP as a member, targets $128 billion in foreign direct investments (FDI) into the country by the end of 2030.
Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), however, show that FDI net inflows into the country slumped to a 20-month low of $448 million in January. — DVM, GMA Integrated News