ECCP at Work

ECCP@Work Featured Articles | November 17, 2023

November 17, 2023

ECCP Online

ECCP at Work

European Chamber of Commerce chafes at port storage hike

The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) on Tuesday expressed concern over the Philippine Ports Authority’s (PPA) proposed increase in storage charges for foreign containerized cargo, saying this will reduce the competitiveness of the Philippine market. “We need to ensure the competitiveness of the Filipino market so if you put taxes and more blocks—that makes trade more difficult. It’s not helping,” ECCP President Paulo Duarte said. Describing the Philippine's current macroeconomic data as “very favorable,” the ECCP President said, “we need to continue this path, and not to create more blocks.”


BOC nets P764.7B from January-November 10, above target

At a forum organized by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), BOC Commissioner Bienvenido Rubio said, “I am pleased to share with all of you that from January to November 10, 2023, the BOC exceeded its collection target by generating a total of P764.68 billion in revenue.” He also noted that this “achievement” may be attributed to “increased trade activities, enhanced customs operations and our reinforced efforts to improve lawful revenue collection.” Meanwhile, in the agency’s pursuit to “protect the borders of our country from illicit trade in goods,” the BOC commissioner said BOC’s anti-smuggling campaign has resulted in the seizure of US$41.9 billion worth of prohibited goods in the 11-month period this year.


Bongbong Marcos to seek food and energy security, economy in APEC meet

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. aimed to achieve food and energy security as well as economic inclusion of the country’s micro, small, and medium enterprises or MSMEs during his third trip to the United States for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit. In his pre-departure speech at Villamor Airbase in Pasay City, Marcos said that he will focus on beneficial trade, investment, green job generation, human development, and poverty alleviation. Marcos said that he will meet with different business leaders and conduct roundtable discussions in the APEC sidelines. The President also said he will serve as a keynote speaker at the APEC Chief Executive Officers (CEO) Summit. 


Foreign investment pledges surge in Q3

Total foreign investment commitments surged by 109% to P27.3 billion in the July-to-September period from the P13.05-billion haul a year ago. The growth in foreign investment pledges was the fastest in two quarters or since the 4,455.6% surge in the first quarter of 2023. Singapore was the biggest source of approved investment commitments, contributing nearly half at P13.04 billion. This was followed by Taiwan and the United Kingdom with pledges amounting to P3.63 billion (13.3% share) and P3.06 billion (11.2% share), respectively. Analysts said the annual increase in pledges in the third quarter reflected the government’s efforts to attract more foreign investors.


Foreign tourists spend $7B in the PHL in January-October 2023

International travelers spent some US$7 billion or about  P391 billion in the Philippines in the first 10 months of the year, which pushes further the country’s tourism recovery. “We have received over 4.63 million international visitors, which constitutes 96 percent of our entire year’s target [of 4.8 million], contributing over $7 billion to our economy,” DOT Secretary Frasco said. The receipts this year were just 8.73 percent less than the $7.67 billion (P428 billion) earned from January to October 2019, prior to the pandemic. This year’s visitor spend was also 180 percent higher than the $2.5 billion (P139.5 billion) recorded in the same period in 2022. (Reference rate P55.58:$1)


ECCP warns container fee hike to erode PHL competitiveness

The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) said the Philippine Ports Authority’s (PPA) proposal to increase storage charges for foreign container cargoes will erode the Philippines’ competitiveness in trade. “We need to ensure the competitiveness of the market, so if you put taxes and more blocks, that makes trade more difficult. It’s not helping,” ECCP President Paulo Duarte said. “The current macroeconomic data is very favorable to the Philippines. So that means we need to continue this path, not to create more blocks. That’s our position,” he added. Mr. Duarte was referring to the 5.9% expansion in Philippine gross domestic product in the third quarter.


ECCP warns container fee hike to erode PHL competitiveness

The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) said the Philippine Ports Authority’s (PPA) proposal to increase storage charges for foreign container cargoes will erode the Philippines’ competitiveness in trade. “We need to ensure the competitiveness of the market, so if you put taxes and more blocks, that makes trade more difficult. It’s not helping,” ECCP President Paulo Duarte said. “The current macroeconomic data is very favorable to the Philippines. So that means we need to continue this path, not to create more blocks. That’s our position,” he added. Mr. Duarte was referring to the 5.9% expansion in Philippine gross domestic product in the third quarter.


BIZ BUZZ: Bringing the A game to Clark

Arrey Ancheta Perez, the newly installed president and chief executive officer of Clark International Airport Corp. (CIAC), is bringing his A game to Clark, with aggressive plans underway to bring in big-ticket projects to the complex. Among the top priorities of the former senior vice president for corporate services of the Bases Conversion Development Authority is the completion of a national food terminal adjacent to the bustling airport that is expected to cost at least P8 billion. According to CIAC, the food terminal will be “a significant support pillar” to the Marcos administration’s goal to further develop the country’s agricultural economy by improving transportation, storage and processing of farm and livestock harvests, thereby reducing spoilage and increasing the quality of food products. It is expected to be up and running by 2026.


BOC confiscates P42 worth of smuggled goods

During the forum organized by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines on Tuesday, Customs commissioner Bienvenido Rubio said the total value of smuggled goods seized by the agency reached P41.9 billion from January to Nov. 10. During the period, illegal items caught by the BOC included counterfeit goods, agricultural commodities, tobacco products, and fuel, among others. This is also the largest seizure by BOC to date as the revenue agency remains firm in its pursuit to protect the country’s borders from illicit trade in goods. “This is due to the strengthened anti-smuggling campaign by the BOC. We are really trying our best to confiscate and apprehend cargoes that are entering our country illegally,” Rubio said.


IPEF supply-chain deal to strengthen PH supplier base – DTI

Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Alfredo Pascual said the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) supply-chain agreement will help the Philippines in attracting sustainable investments from IPEF partners like the US, and ensure reliability in supplying goods, supply chain transparency, technical cooperation, and economic collaboration. “This pillar will provide us with a number of benefits, but in general, the idea behind the supply chain pillar or pillar 2 is where the partners commit towards resilient, robust, diverse, and well-integrated supply chains through measures that are built on principles of operation, crisis response and mitigation of disruptions and vulnerabilities,” Pascual said. 


PH climate change hit could top 10% of GDP

"More than half of global losses from natural disasters already occur in East Asia and the Pacific," World Bank Managing Director Anna Bjerde told Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) ministers in San Francisco. "[W]e estimate the impacts from climate change could exceed 10 percent of GDP (gross domestic product) in economies such as the Philippines or Vietnam by 2050," she added. The World Bank official claimed that the multilateral institution was putting a strong emphasis on climate action, with 46 percent of East Asia and Pacific commitments for 2022 having contributed to such. "We are working on transforming the World Bank to better support countries to tackle global challenges."


PPPs seen to cement Philippines position as digital innovation hub

Partnering with the private sector is needed for the Philippines to keep up with the ever evolving digital landscape, especially as the country moves to cement its position as a digital innovation hub, President Marcos said yesterday. On the first day of the Singapore Fintech Festival here, Marcos maintained that the Philippines is committed to fostering an environment that promotes collaboration and propels the momentum of digital transformation. Marcos emphasized that PPPs are crucial in enabling the country to adopt new technologies that would strengthen the local fintech ecosystem. Further, the President maintained that the Philippines recognizes the growing presence of digital banking and the importance of inclusive finance in the country’s financial landscape to ensure that no one is left behind.


Foreign tourists spend $7B in the PHL in January-October 2023

Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco made the announcement during the Philippines Economic Briefing (PEB) on Wednesday in San Francisco, where government economic managers outlined investment opportunities in the country. “We have received over 4.63 million international visitors, which constitutes 96 percent of our entire year’s target [of 4.8 million], contributing over $7 billion to our economy,” she said at the event, one of the sidelights of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s visit as he attends the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Leaders Summit. Frasco told participants in the briefing: “The Department of Tourism marks 50 years of bringing the world’s attention to the immense beauty of our country, where tourism is a unifying force for good, and has emerged as one of the strongest pillars of our economy post-pandemic.”


PHL fintech ecosystem open for collaboration–Marcos

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has invited foreign investors to participate in the financial technology (fintech) space in the Philippines, noting that the country has developed a fintech ecosystem that is open for collaboration. In his speech, he highlighted the openness of the Philippines to investors, as it “cements its position as a hub for digital innovation and entrepreneurship, with a dynamic startup scene that holds immense promise.” “In the Philippines, we remain committed to fostering an environment that promotes collaboration and propels the momentum of our digital transformation,” he said. “Apart from this, numerous Public-Private Partnerships projects are also aimed at keeping pace with the rapidly evolving ICT landscape.”


Balisacan cites potential contribution of housing sector in 2024 GDP growth

The government’s housing program may contribute as much as 1 percentage point to the economy’s overall gross domestic product (GDP) growth next year, bringing the country closer to faster economic growth in 2024. Speaking at the Philippine Economic Briefing in San Francisco on Wednesday night, National Economic and Development Authority (Neda) Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan said the growth target for next year is 6.5 to 8 percent. Balisacan said there’s still room for government spending to increase in the last quarter of the year while inflation continues to moderate. This will significantly increase the country’s growth.


PBBM unveils new strategy to harness full benefits of AI

Speaking at the sidelines of the 30th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting and related activities in San Francisco, California, the Chief Executive disclosed the government is now crafting the National AI Strategy (NAS). “Currently, the Philippines is embracing this future of AI with the crafting of the National AI Strategy that seeks to augment the existing skill set of Filipino talents with AI. This strategy also aims to position the Philippines as a Center of Excellence in artificial intelligence,” Marcos said. He stressed the need for the country to ramp up its production of the necessary talents to develop and manage new technologies such AI and blockchain technology to remain globally competitive. Aside from the labor force, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said the NAS would also focus on identifying key areas in research and development as well as technology applications related to AI, which will require investments. 


Tourism receipts hit P404B

Tourism revenues in the first 10 months of the year rose 190 percent to  P404.02 billion from P138.46 billion in the same period in 2022. Secretary Christina  Frasco of the Department of Tourism announced this at the 2023 Philippine Economic Briefing in San Franciso, California on November 15. Frasco said as of October, the Philippines received 4.63 million international visitors which constitutes 96 percent of  the entire year’s target. She said tourism is the second top economic driver of the Philippines in the first half of the year.


NAIA turnover eyed by H2 in ’24

The P170.6-billion project for the rehabilitation, operation and maintenance of Ninoy Aquino International Airport (NAIA) will likely be turned over to the winning bidder by the second half of 2024, to formally start the rehabilitation of the four terminals, according to the Manila International Airport Authority (MIAA). Bryan Co, MIAA officer-in-charge (OIC) general manager, said the winning bidder will be declared by the first quarter of 2024, after the evaluation and compliance with the bid parameters. As of November 16, eight companies have bought bid documents and are expected to submit bids on December 27, 2023. They are GMR Airports International, San Miguel Holdings Corp., Manila International Airport Consortium, Spark 888 Management, Asian Airport Consortium, Cengiz Insaat Sanayi ve Ticaret A.S., Incheon Airport Corp. and Limak Group of Turkiye.

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