Government expects more investments from Europe

Published by rudy Date posted on April 1, 2009

MANILA, Philippines – The government is expecting more investments from European countries as a 40-man business delegation from Belgium and Spain visited the country and announced they are interested in locating their manufacturing and services operations here.

The Board of Investments (BOI) expressed confidence that the visit will give way to company tie-ups and opportunities to further expand and strengthen the company’s infrastructure network.

Earlier, the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) said that there will be more investments from European firms if the government will promote the country better and will amend restrictions in the constitution.

ECCP president Hubert D’Aboville said that there are not enough trade missions to Europe and there are laws such as the restriction on foreign ownership that discourage potential investors.

D’Aboville said now is the time to revive moves to forge a free trade agreement with the European Union in order for the country to sell its goods in a bigger market. He noted that the country is being beaten by neighboring countries like Vietnam and Thailand in terms of foreign direct investment.

He noted that this is because of some government policies that are not conducive to foreign investments like the limitations to foreign land ownership and not allowing foreign professionals to practice here.

In spite of this, he said the country can promote its sunshine industries like tourism, retirement and the business process outsourcing (BPO).

He noted that the tourism industry in the country is underdeveloped. When fully cultivated, he said the multiplier effect of investments here would be big because not only will investors come in to infuse money in hotels, resorts and infrastructures it will also generate employment and income for surrounding industries.

However, D’Aboville said it is difficult to put in big ticket investments in the country because according to the law, foreigners are not allowed to own land in the country.

For the BPO, he said there is not much promotion for Philippine BPOs in Europe. Most companies go to India because the government does not make an effort to invite European firms to transfer their back office operations here.

The retirement, D’Aboville said is a big opportunity for the Philippines because the worldwide recession has forced Europeans to look for places wherein they can get more value for their money.

D’Aboville also said the favorable climate and the friendly nature of the Filipinos make the country conducive for retirement.–Ma. Elisa P. Osorio, Philippine Star

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