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Wednesday, April 17, 2024

DTI chief signals PHL’s readiness to accept more investments after RCEP ratification

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Given the extent of economic activities in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) region, Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual has signaled the Philippines’s readiness to attract investors in the country, particularly in the areas of manufacturing and innovation. 

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) chief cited that the RCEP region accounts to 50 percent of the global manufacturing output, 50 percent of global automotive products, 70 percent of electronic products, and the main global value chain (GVC) hubs of China, South Korea, and Japan. 

“Given this extent of economic activities, there are a lot of opportunities that foreign investors and local businesses can seize, explore, and develop, especially in the manufacturing sector and innovation. We want to Make it Happen in the Philippines, and we are ready,” the trade chief said on Friday. 

With this, Pascual is pitching opportunities that investors can explore in the country.

“As we set to participate in the largest free trade bloc, investors should know that there is enough space and vast opportunities in the country,” Pascual said. 

He also expressed confidence that the country’s trade and investment policy direction is “clear and stable,” owing to the country’s participation in the mega trade pact coupled with the recent key economic reforms.  

The DTI said in a statement on Friday that the Philippines “has the necessary foundation to support a robust innovation ecosystem, from a strong intellectual property regime, the passage of the Philippine Innovation Act and Innovative Start Up Act, establishment of Regional Inclusive Innovation Centers (RIICs), and a number of Innovation and Technology Support Offices (ITSOs) around the country.” 

Now as the Philippines positions itself as an innovation hub in the region, the Pascual said the country has to encourage more investments in green technologies, energy, logistics, smart agriculture, and information technology. 

Further, Pascual stressed that the growing e-commerce industry is also an opportunity for the Philippines to secure its niche in the digital economy, noting the country’s strength in the IT and Business Process Management (IT-BPM) sector.

For his part, DTI Assistant Secretary Allan B. Gepty stressed, “That is why the comprehensive chapters on e-commerce, intellectual property, and services including financial services and telecommunication services in the RCEP agreement are important foundations in attracting more investments in the country.” 

Meanwhile, Gepty, who’s also the Philippines’s top negotiator for RCEP, unveiled the country’s “core” competitive advantage in the region. These are the country’s “dynamic workforce, strategic location, and clear trade and investment policies.” 

Simply put, Gepty noted, these are the country’s “People, Place and Policy.” 

On Thursday, Pascual, who also chairs the Board of Investments (BOI), revised the agency’s 2023 investment registration target from P1 trillion to P1.5 trillion following the “strong” investment approvals recorded in January 2023 alone. 

When asked if the country’s ratification of the RCEP had a hand in the revision of investment registration target for 2023, Pascual said he is “confident” that the mega trade deal “can contribute to pushing investors to decide on setting up in the Philippines.” 

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