Europe-PH News

Swedish investors to Recto: PH is where we should be

March 13, 2024

ECCP Online

Europe-PH News


Swedish investors have expressed their strong interest in investing in the Philippines in light of its robust macroeconomic fundamentals, improved business climate, and highly skilled workforce during a meeting with Finance Secretary Ralph G. Recto on March 8, 2024.

The Swedish investors were represented by Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken (SEB) Chairman Marcus Wallenberg and Saab President and Chief Executive Officer Micael Johansson. 

SEB is a leading North European financial group with a current market value of USD 30.61 billion (approximately PHP 1.7 trillion) as of March 2024. 

Meanwhile, Saab is a prominent Swedish defense and security company with a market value of USD 10.36 billion (roughly PHP 580.18 billion) as of the same period.

The delegation was accompanied by Ambassador of the Kingdom of Sweden to the Republic of the Philippines Annika Thunborg during the meeting.

The investors expressed particular interest in bolstering the Philippines' defense industry, drawing upon Sweden's track record in enhancing defense capabilities in countries like Brazil and Thailand, which not only fosters long-term competence but also stimulates domestic job creation.

The investors also emphasized that Sweden’s recent membership to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) presents significant opportunities for Swedish arms manufacturers to contribute to the modernization of the Philippines' defense capabilities.

Other potential areas for collaboration discussed included pharmaceuticals, financial solutions, green projects, and deeper public-private partnerships (PPP).

In turn, Secretary Recto invited Swedish investors to invest in the country’s flagship infrastructure projects primed and ready for PPP investments under the President’s Build Better More program. 

The program features 185 big-ticket infrastructure projects worth PHP 9.14 trillion (about USD 163 billion) ranging from power, physical connectivity, rural development, water resources, digitalization, sustainable initiatives, and healthcare.

The Finance Chief particularly emphasized the strategic advantage of investing in the Philippines, citing its status as the fastest-growing economy in the ASEAN despite external challenges such as elevated inflation, slower global growth, and rising geopolitical tensions. 

Secretary Recto also showcased the pro-business and economic liberalization policies that the country has in place to foster a welcoming environment for businesses and encourage foreign partnerships. 

These include the recently-enacted PPP Code; the amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act (RTLA), the Public Service Act (PSA), and the Foreign Investments Act (FIA); and the amendments in the implementing rules and regulations of the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 that granted full foreign ownership of renewable energy projects.

Secretary Recto likewise shared that the government is refining the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (CREATE)  Act to further tailor fit incentives to investor interests and encourage investment in strategically important sectors.

He underscored that all of these pro-business policies are complemented by the competitive advantage offered by the Philippines’ “demographic sweet spot”.

As the populations of economies in Asia and other industrialized countries begin to age, the Philippines looks forward to the entry of millions of young and skilled Filipinos into the workforce whose median age is 25 years old. 

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