Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Tereso O. Panga said on Thursday that it is optimistic to receive more investors from South Korea with the signing of the Philippines-South Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA) on the sidelines of the 43rd Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit and Related Summits in Jakarta, Indonesia.
According to President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., “The signing of the FTA is a testament to the realization of many opportunities for complementation and collaboration between the Philippines and South Korea, and an even greater milestone for our economic friendship.”
President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol after the signing of the landmark Free Trade Agreement on the sidelines of the 43rd ASEAN Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia.
Trade Secretary Alfredo Pascual also noted that “for the Philippines, this FTA serves as a clear demonstration of the intent to elevate the current bilateral relations with South Korea to a stronger strategic partnership. The Philippines’ engagement with South Korea is built on trade through market access, economic cooperation, and investments through collaboration in targeted sectors such as critical minerals and supply chains.”
Echoing these, Panga stated that “With South Korea’s status as the 10th largest GDP in the world and 2nd most technologically advanced nation (next to Germany), the Philippines stands to benefit from this FTA which opens more opportunities for investors, increased market access, FDI inflows, higher value-added production and export diversification combined with deeper economic cooperation and innovation partnership.”
PEZA also sees an influx of FDIs coming from South Korea for the year
Panga said, “We are seeing an increasing trend with more South Korean investments coming in the country. Last year, we approved a total of Php 1.019 Billion in investments from South Korean projects and for our performance this year, we already generated a total of Php 1.413 Billion investments from South Korea. We look forward to welcoming more investments from them, especially from industries unique to the country.”
As of June 2023, PEZA has 246 registered projects from South Korea, generating Php 92.190 Billion in investments, US$ 736.454 Million in exports, and 40,688 employments.
‘On-track to achieve 2023 target’
In line with this, Panga also reported, “We are on track to achieving our conservative target for the year. In fact, we have already achieved 72% of our P154.77 billion target investments for 2023.”
“We are confident that we will exceed our conservative 10% growth this year given the increasing number of ecozone applications filed with our office as well as big ticket projects and long-term investments that we expect to register this last quarter of 2023,” he added.
Last Thursday, the PEZA Board approved a total of 27 new and expansion projects which is expected to bring in PhP 14.044 Billion investments, US$ 174.806 Million exports, and 4,614 jobs.
Among the 27 projects, 11 of these are for export, five (5) for facilities, five (5) for IT, two (2) for logistics, two (2) for domestic, and two (2) for ecozone development. These projects will be located in Makati City, Pasay City, Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Cebu, Davao del Norte, and Occidental Mindoro.
With these new projects, PEZA’s investments for the year already totaled to Php 111.207 Billion, which is 180.06% higher as compared to the Php 39.632 Billion investments approved last Jan-Sept 2022.
The top five (5) FDIs for this year are of the Japanese, Singaporean, Caymanian, British, and South Korean.
“Our sound economic fundamentals, a whole of government approach coupled with the most aggressive promotion of the Philippines to global investors by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. through his various working and state visits to other countries have resulted in this significant development for PEZA,” noted the PEZA Chief.
With PEZA’s role as an investment promotion arm and guided by the DTI’s Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) driven industrialization strategy, Panga expressed that it is bullish to contribute in the attainment of this administration’s overarching goal of making the Philippines a more inclusive economy with an upper middle-income status by 2028.
“Together, we will make it happen in the Philippines para sa bagong Pilipinas,” he said.