WASHINGTON D.C. – “Now is the best time to do business in the Philippines.” This was the key message conveyed by Philippine economic managers during the 3rd Virtual Economic Briefing – with the theme “Towards a resilient post-pandemic economy” – organized by the Embassy of the Philippines in Washington D.C. recently.
“Following the strong performance of all major Philippine economic sectors in 2021 amidst this ongoing pandemic, the Philippine economy is indeed poised for recovery. It is our every intention to ensure that the Philippine economy will come out of this pandemic as resilient, inclusive, and green,” Philippine Ambassador Jose Manuel Romualdez said in his opening remarks.
Philippine Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, and Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi discussed key reforms in several sectors including manufacturing, retail trade, public services and renewable and nuclear energy, which will facilitate investments and enable the Philippines to weather any future global challenges.
The government and private sector panels speaking on prospects and opportunities for the Philippine economy.
“Over the last five and a half years, President Duterte signed into law and implemented game-changing reforms to boost the Philippines’ growth and competitiveness. With these reforms in place, we are confident of the near and medium-term prospects of the Philippine economy,” Finance Secretary Dominguez said.
Important U.S. foreign policy updates would add new energy to Philippines-US bilateral relationship and create new opportunities to support economic growth and resilience in both countries, including the recently released Indo-Pacific Strategy, said U.S. Charge d’Affaires Heather Variava in her remarks. “Deepening our economic ties requires proactive efforts… not only between our two nations but also in partnership with industry and the private sector… The post-pandemic economic recovery in both our countries will depend on our close collaboration,” she added.
Representatives from key US government agencies echoed CDA Variava’s statement on the United States’ firm commitment to assisting the Philippines in its path towards economic recovery. Ambassador Vinai Thummalapally of the United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), Ms. Karen Freeman of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Mr. Kyle Murphy of the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC), and Ms. Anna Shpitsberg of the Department of State also discussed prospects of financial and other support for investments from the US government in key areas such as energy, critical infrastructure, supply chain, and healthcare, which are available for companies interested in doing business and collaborative projects in the Philippines.
Sharing their insights on investment prospects in the Philippines were key officials from the Philippine and American private sectors, which included Mr. Eric Francia of the Ayala Group’s ACEN, Mr. Alex Siegel of Conax Technologies, Mr. Charles Anthony Rutland of Fluor Philippines, Ms. Cheryl Collins of NuScale, Mr. Yves Gonzalez of Google Philippines, and Ms. Sinead Giblin of Jacobs
According to Mr. Siegel, Mr. Gonzales and Ms. Giblin, the country’s young and highly qualified population has consistently been one of the main considerations of US investors for choosing the Philippines as their investment destination.
On the other hand, Mr. Francia, Mr. Rutland, and Ms. Collins underscored the investment potentials in the country’s energy sector, particularly on renewable and nuclear energy. The support coming from both the Philippines and U.S. governments is a boon for companies looking to invest in the country.
The VEB discussions were moderated by Ambassador Michael Michalak of the US-ASEAN Business Council and Mr. John Goyer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Liter of Light Founder Mr. Illac Diaz served as Master of Ceremonies.
The 3rd Virtual Economic Briefing is available on demand here (https://bit.ly/357zUGY).