Press Releases

European Chamber calls for greater ease of doing business

January 31, 2024

ECCP Online

Press Releases

According to the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), the Philippines is said to attract billions in foreign direct investments (FDIs) given the country’s estimated gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 5.3% and coupled by strong macroeconomic fundamentals, as well as strong cash flows from overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs).

“We believe that the time to do business in the Philippines is now,” said ECCP President Paulo Duarte at the launch of the Doing Business in the Philippines (DBIP) 2024 Publication on Wednesday in Makati City. “In recent months and years, we have seen the Philippines emerge as a beacon of growth in Asia, drawing confidence from the projections and reports of multilateral and international organizations, banks, and rating agencies alike. Our optimism is, of course, not unfounded.” 

The ECCP cited many notable prospects aiding towards the increased attractiveness of the Philippines as a preferred destination for foreign direct investments, such as the potential resumption of  EU-Philippines Free Trade Agreement (FTA) talks, and the administration’s efforts in infrastructure development and digital transformation.

The ECCP has been a strong advocate for the EU GSP+ scheme renewal as well as the resumption of the EU-PH FTA negotiations. Last year, the Chamber announced the relaunch of its FTA committee to take part as private sector in consultations on the FTA negotiations and ensure strong collaborative efforts between the public and private sectors. 

Duarte further enumerated key economic reforms such as the amendments to the Public Service Act, the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, and the Foreign Investment Act, plus the liberalization of renewable energy investment activities for foreign investors.

In order to leverage such developments, Duarte called for the promotion of a business-enabling environment characterized by streamlined business registration and licensing rules, ease of paying taxes, and the enforcement of contracts, among others. 

“This is a prerequisite for building confidence among prospective and existing investors,” he stressed.

On the side of the Royal Norwegian Embassy in Manila, Ambassador Christian Halaas Lyster noted that trade volumes have been growing every year under the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) - Philippines Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

“However, there is room for both EFTA-countries and the Philippines to utilize the opportunities that lie in the FTA even more,” said Ambassador Lyster. “We encourage the Philippines to use existing knowledge to identify areas with high potential for more exports from the Philippines. This would benefit both the economy and the people of the Philippines.” 

During the press conference, the ECCP and DivinaLaw unveiled the latest edition of its Doing Business in the Philippines Publication together with key officials of European diplomatic missions. The annual guidebook aims to serve as a valuable resource, helping potential and existing investors make informed decisions and seize opportunities in the Philippines.

“Throughout the years, ECCP has actively championed advocacies for reforms aimed at making the Philippines a more attractive destination for trade and investments,” said ECCP Executive Director Florian Gottein. “With the recent implementation of economic reforms and a surge in investor interest, it is now the opportune time to intensify our efforts and share positive narratives about the Philippines.”

During the conference, the ECCP also announced that they are entering a Memorandum of Understanding with the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) to further promote ease of doing business in the country. The agreement is set to finalize at a luncheon meeting with the said government agency this 6 February 2024.

Present at the Doing Business in the Philippines Press Launch were Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, H.E. Ambassador Luc Veron, Delegation of the European Union to the Philippines; Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, H.E. Christian Halaas Lyster, Embassy of Norway; and DivinaLaw Managing Director Atty. Nilo T . Divina.    

            

The Doing Business in the Philippines 2024 is an ECCP annual publication which aims to provide potential investors with a complete guidebook on the country, its laws, policies, procedures, and regulations. Co authored by DivinaLaw, the guide aims to increase investor confidence and equip them to make well-informed business and investment decisions. Topics include setting up your business in the Philippines, taxation, labor & employment, immigration, and Intellectual property (IP) among others. This year’s edition features 3 Philippine Focus Industries and specific regulations in Renewable Energy (RE), Financial Technology, and Telecommunications.

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