Asean firms rate Manila poorly

Published by rudy Date posted on March 30, 2011

THE Philippines was among the least popular investment destinations in Southeast Asia at a time when many companies in the region are planning to expand their operations, according to a recent survey conducted by the Asean Business Advisory Council (ABAC).

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations groups the Philippines, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.

Eighty-five percent of survey respondents said they plan to invest or expand in at least one of the 10 Asean member-countries over a three-year period until 2012, with 41 percent eyeing Vietnam, 36 percent looking at Singapore and about a third each interested in Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia.

Twelve percent of respondents indicated interest in the Philippines—a lower number than those interested in Cambodia (13 percent), Myanmar (14 percent) and Laos (19 percent). Cellar dweller Brunei was eyed as a potential investment or expansion site by five percent of poll respondents.

Asean countries combined edged out China as the “country that offers the best prospects . . . for offshore direct investments” for Asean firms in the same three-year period.

Forty-eight percent cited Vietnam, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand as attractive markets as well as production bases. No respondent voted for the Philippines.

China however remains a more attractive investment site for 29 percent of those polled.

Businesses polled expressed anxiety over delays in the implementation of the Asean Economic Community (AEC) Blueprint, which aims to make the region a single market and production base by 2015.

Ninety-one percent of respondents said the implementation of the AEC Blueprint is an important consideration in their plans to invest or expand within Asean, and 89 percent said failure to form the AEC in 2015 would impact on their costs.

The poll was conducted during the second half of last year among 335 companies across Asean, almost half of which were small firms employing less than 50 people.

Eighty-five percent of respondents have their headquarters in Asean, and 60 percent of those surveyed were homegrown enterprises.One percent of respondents were from the Philippines. –Ben Arnold O. De Vera Reporter, Manila Times

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