THE Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) signed an agreement with three more business chambers on Wednesday, which agreed to advise the regulator on how to best implement Republic Act 11302, otherwise known as the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Services Delivery act.
On the first day of the Ease of Doing Business Convention on Wednesday, ARTA signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI), and the Nordic Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (NordCham).
GPCCI President Stefan Schmitz said the partnership with ARTA will help in simplifying business processes, reducing red tape and ultimately enhancing the overall investment climate in the Philippines.
“GPCCI is committed to bridging the business community and the government aiming to streamline processes and reduce bureaucratic challenges,” Mr. Schmitz said.
“Our involvement will extend to organizing informative events and actively participating in policy discussions, ensuring that the business sector’s voice is an integral part of this transformative tool,” he said.
He added that the signing of the MoU is a “proactive” step towards creating a more dynamic and competitive business landscape in the Philippines.
“By combining German expertise and innovation with Filipino resilience and ingenuity, we are set to make significant strides in making the Philippines a more attractive destination for investors,” he said.
German Ambassador to the Philippines Andreas Michael Pfaffernoschke, who was also present at the event, welcomed the partnership and said that it has the potential to ease business operations for German companies in the Philippines and to strengthen public-private sector collaboration.
“As you know, Germany is a very important trading partner of the Philippines … I am convinced that this MoU will help to make business easier for German companies in the Philippines that will help develop the bilateral economic relations, improve the local investment climate, and promote welfare for the Filipinos,” Mr. Pfaffernoschke said.
PCCI President George E. Barcelon said that the partnership will allow the organization to communicate the needs of the private sector at the regional level to ARTA.
“The regional development councils include us in the chambers — that is why it is important that we are looped into this so that we can share to ARTA the places we know that have gaps that need to be addressed,” he said.
Through the partnership, PCCI expects meetings with ARTA at the regional level to take place as often as they do at the national level.
“We want to strengthen it. Hopefully our meetings with ARTA on a regional basis will be more regular. We often discuss (matters) at the national level because of the forums, and we want to achieve the same at the regional level,” Mr. Barcelon said.
Jesper Svenningsen, executive director of NordCham, said simplifying the processes that businesses are subject to is important in attracting more foreign investment, especially from the Nordic countries.
“At least for the Nordics, we are used to things being smooth and fast. The improvements that are already done by ARTA are very significant. Thus, we see more interest in foreign investment in the Philippines from the Nordics,” Mr. Svenningsen said.
He said that the MoU will help in taking ARTA’s initiatives to the next level and guide it towards the next steps that will make doing business in the Philippines smoother.
“We were looking forward to signing this, but we are really looking forward to taking the next steps and making sure that our points of view are being heard and that all the companies that we represent are also being heard,” he said.
“I am sure ARTA will help us with whatever bumps on the road, to smoothen it out so business will be even better in the Philippines,” he added.
ARTA Secretary Ernesto V. Perez said that the three MoUs signed on Wednesday followed the MoUs the agency signed with the Korean Chamber of Commerce Philippines and the Malaysia Chamber of Commerce and Industries Philippines in the past few weeks.
“In the future, we will also be signing with the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines and the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines,” Mr. Perez said.
“By entering these MoUs, we will make them our champions so that they and their members who know and experience red tape will be able to let us know … Through the MoUs that we have signed, we will capacitate them to refer any complaints by any of their members so that ARTA can act accordingly,” he added. — Justine Irish D. Tabile