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British Chamber of Commerce sees
more direct investments for PH
Text, photos and video by Monsi A. Serrano

As the foreign investment climate in the Philippines continues to grow despite global challenges, foreign companies continue to look for more investment opportunities in the country.

In this year’s 2nd Quarter Joint Economic Briefing hosted by the British Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (BCCP) and held in cooperation of the Chambers of Commerce of the Embassies of France, German, Italy, Spain, and The Netherlands, BCCP Executive Director Chris Nelson said they see more opportunities for trade in the Philippines from the side of the United Kingdom (UK).

“I am traveling to the UK again, and will continue to talk with the businessmen there and tell them several positive developments in the Philippines,” Nelson told THEPHILBIZNEWS.

He said that after meeting with executives of close to 90 Philippine companies during the Britain in Southeast Asia (BiSEA) Roadshow in April, 2019, explorations are now underway with eight UK companies.

Ease of Doing Business

“Of course for all the foreign chambers in the Philippines, we are all excited and elated with the enactment of Republic Act (RA) 11032 or the ease of doing business law. And this means foreign companies will certainly take a serious look on this very encouraging law,” said Nelson.

He underscored the fact that the BCCP has never stopped promoting the Philippines to the UK by trying to attract more companies willing to invest in Asia. Because of these efforts, Nelson said he feels fulfilled that there are a good number of UK companies already showing serious interest in the Philippines, particularly in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

“This is what we are really trying to target for now,” said the BCCP head. “Then when these companies see that there are companies from the UK investing in the Philippines, then it is a very good barometer for them to follow suit.”

What spurs this emerging interest in the Philippines is the government’s “Ease of Doing Business” program, pushed by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI). “The Ease of Doing Business is really exciting and I am sure the same sentiment is shared by our partners in the Joint Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines,” he said.

Nelson pointed out that with the enhanced ARTA (Anti Red Tape Act) law: “We really hope this would open the gate valve of foreign direct investment to the Philippines.”

Retail Liberization Act, Foreign Investment Act

While the Executive Chairman of BCCP is excited about the Ease of Doing Business law, and the ARTA law, he is hopeful that both Retail Liberization Act and Foreign Investment Act will also be approved soon in the 18th Congress.

“When we have the Ease of Doing Business and Anti Red Tape Act on hand, add the Retail Liberization and Foreign Investment Act, then that would make a big difference to the Philippines. It is an act of seriousness from the Duterte administration that we want more investment to be poured into the country. More investments mean more job,” Nelson added.

“I can say that our government’s encouraging moves through the promulgated laws that would lure foreign investors to come, it is equally important for use to sustain the momentum and ensure that the investments are not just “one time big time” but a sustained influx of investment and that is very critical,” the BCCP Chairman explained.

“Personally, I am happy that the government listens to the various inputs being given by the different foreign chambers of commerce in the Philippines. Because as “de facto ambassadors” of the country we represent, we want to make sure that when we invite investors to the Philippines, they are all happy with their experience and this story will redound to other groups, and the more positive experience they have, the more foreign investors will be encouraged to move to the Philippines.”

When asked why the retail liberalization law is very important to the Foreign Chambers, Nelson said, “this will give more opportunities to the Filipino people in terms of choice and jobs.”

Optimistic in the 18th Congress

During the discussion with THEPHILBIZNEWS,, the Executive Chairman of BCCP was asked on what he hopes to see in the 18th Congress, Nelsons hopes that the lawmakers to focus on continually driving the economy up and he knows that there have some good plans that he expects to materialize in the process.

On a personal side, Nelson wants acceleration on the Build, Build, Build program of the government, and the passage of the Retail Liberalization Act and the Foreign Investment Act in order to get more foreign investors eyeing the Philippines.

Another agenda that the BCCP Chairman wants to be addressed on the 18th Congress is the Train Law which would determine fiscal incentives for foreign investors and also the sustained infrastructure programs started by the government down to the countryside down to 2021 which is the end of the 18th Congress.

BREXIT won’t stop UK to help PH

Nelson also mentioned that while the UK will go on BREXIT, this does not mean they will not work with the other EU countries to help the Philippines.

Furthermore, he also clarified that going to BREXIT does not mean they will not work with other EU colleagues.

“Yes we are heading to exit EU but it does not mean we are not part of the Europe. We will always work with them and we are very close with our EU colleagues.”

“Right now in this event we are 6 Chambers, it is really exciting to incorporate together. Like working on the same date, coordinate and show great strength working with other esteemed colleagues in the chambers.

The 5th Joint Economic Briefing was held last June 19, at the Makati Diamond Residences and was a collaboration between 6 foreign chambers in the Philippines from Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy and Spain with their respective heads of the chambers attended.

From BCCP it was Mr. Chris Nelson, DCCP, Mr. Mitchel Smolders, CCI France Philippines Audrey Martin, GCCPI Dr. Martin Henkelmann, ICCP Messrs. Sergio Boero and Leonardo Bruge, and SCCP Ms. Bárbara Apraiz

Read related stories:

PH gets positive response from the BiSEA UK Roadshow

British Chamber Promotes The Philippines in UK Roadshow

BiSEA Roadshow, April 8-16: PH to explore business opportunities with UK

BCCP Chairman Chris Nelson: PH, UK must sustain economic growth momentum in 2019

British Chamber of Commerce Philippines shares their milestones in 2018

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