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Economic execs seek to assure US investors

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Dominguez
Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III delivers his speech at the Dutertenomics forum on April 18, 2017. — PRESIDENTIAL COMMUNICATIONS

STATE economic managers head for the United States this week in a bid to convince companies there that the Philippines is good for business, the Finance department said in a statement yesterday.

On Oct. 11 in New York City, the team — led by Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, Budget Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Deputy Governor Diwa C. Guinigundo, Executive Secretary Salvador C. Medialdea and Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter S. Cayetano — will “hold the fourth overseas Philippine Economic Briefing with leaders of the American business community to provide them a better-rounded picture on key developments in the Philippines’ fast-growing economy.”

Ayala Corp. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala will take part in the briefing, the department added.

Participants at the briefing, themed: “The Rising Philippine Economy: Powering Gains with Global Partners through Shared Goals”, will be updated on Philippines’ economic performance, as well as government policy thrusts and progress of its infrastructure program and tax reform initiatives.

The New York briefing will be jointly hosted by Deutsche Bank, Citi Group, Standard Chartered Bank and Morgan Stanley.

“We will highlight our comparative advantage: young population, with a median age of 23, in an aging world; mostly English speaking,” Mr. Diokno said in a mobile phone message yesterday when asked for details.

“We will highlight the budget priorities which are the golden age of infrastructure and investment in human capital development, the latter to develop the country’s young pop[ulation] into a competent, agile work force.”

Economic managers conducted similar briefings since last year in Singapore, China and Japan.

BSP Governor Nestor A. Espenilla, Jr. and Mr. Dominguez then head for Washington D.C. on Oct. 13 for the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Annual Meetings.

In Washington D.C., Mr. Dominguez will also speak before the Center for Strategic and International Studies. The Finance department quoted him as saying the event “is an opportunity for us to present a better-rounded picture of where our country is and where we intend to go.”

Early last month, the US Chamber of Commerce and the American chambers of commerce in Southeast Asia released findings of their 2018 ASEAN Business Outlook Survey that, among others, showed many respondents in the Philippines believing the current government has not been effective “in boosting business confidence and promoting investment in the country”. Four percent said the current administration has been “very effective” and 11% said it has been “slightly effective” in doing so. But 26% said the government was “slightly ineffective” and the same percentage said it was “very ineffective” in doing so.

Still, the Philippines had the highest proportion of respondents saying they expect profit growth this year from 2016 at 85%, followed by Vietnam (84%).

The survey showed the Philippines and Malaysia (both with 22%) trailing behind Vietnam (34%), Myanmar and Indonesia (both with 29%), Thailand (26%) and Cambodia (23%) as a site for expansion outside host countries.

Indonesia (73%), Vietnam (72%), Myanmar (71%) and the Philippines (70%) showed “exceptionally high percentages of respondents with expansion expectations” in their host countries, while Brunei (75%), Vietnam and Cambodia (each with 70%), the Philippines (63%) and Singapore (57%) “have the highest proportion of companies planning to increase their work force.” — EJCT





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