The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) said the Philippines should further develop five strategic sectors that could help the country strengthen its trade relations with the European Union (EU).
In his presentation before a recent business forum at the Clark Freeport Zone, Henry Schumacher, ECCP executive vice president, said the Philippines can tap its business process outsourcing (BPO), logistics (including transshipment and processing), tourism (including healthcare, medical travel and retirement), knowledge and creative industries to boost European investments in the country.
The ECCP official added that while the EU is the world’s biggest outsourcing market, the Philippines only delivers 10 percent of its BPO output to Europe since the local industry has not been widely promoted in the EU. Because of this, European firms instead mostly tap outsourcing companies in Africa, Eastern Europe and India.
Schumacher also said the Clark and Subic freeports can become strategic locations for consolidation of shipments and utilize their logistics potential to combine processing with logistics.
Local tourism, on the other hand, can exploit the global financial crisis that has made many retirees and potential retirees abroad “substantially poorer,” as retirement locations in the Philippines could offer a cheaper comfortable lifestyle. Schumacher said retirement villages could be put up in Clark, Cebu, Dumaguete, Metro Manila, Nasugbu, Subic and Tagaytay.
He added that more efforts should be undertaken to import patients instead of exporting well-trained and in-demand Filipino medical professionals.
Schumacher said the Philippines —with its highly skilled and educated manpower—would also be attractive to some European companies that are hit badly by the crisis.
— Ben Arnold O. de Vera