IPAs make investment pitches to Swiss investors 

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THE Philippines’s Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) have made their investment pitches in the Joint Economic Commission (JEC) in Switzerland to Swiss investors particularly in the fintech, blockchain and high-tech machinery areas, among others.

According to a Facebook post published by PEZA Officer-in-Charge Tereso O. Panga on Monday, the Board of Investments (BOI) and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), with the assistance of Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC)-Geneva Director Raymond Batac, have pitched investments in the JEC forum, which was attended by Swiss business chambers as well as prospective and existing Swiss investors in the Philippines.

The sectors include fintech and blockchain, high-tech machinery (i.e., turbo-charging equipment used in power generation, transport and manufacturing), tobacco processing, and soil erosion technology.

In the separate B2B meetings, Panga said BOI and PEZA assisted some firms with their “specific operational concerns and investment entry/expansion” requirements. These firms include Glencore on copper cathodes; Sateco on automotive sensors for controls and switches; OVD Kinegram on fintech and blockchain; Naturloop on design and production of coco fiber boards from waste coconut husks; and Impact Acoustic on design and production of acoustic lighting, ceiling and wall panel boards from recycled PET bottle fibers.

Naturloop and Impact Acoustic both employ “pioneering” technologies utilizing local materials that will benefit the Philippines’s farmers and micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in collecting and processing of waste materials, said Panga.

The PEZA OIC unveiled more benefits that Filipino farmers and small merchants can utilize. In fact, he said, as an alternative to “heavily” imported wood and composite materials for various applications, their products can be utilized for instance for furniture, wall and ceiling panels.

Moreover, Panga noted, “the same can be used for our public school and housing projects as they are cheaper, termite-free and more durable.”

BOI Managing head Ceferino S. Rodolfo led the Philippine delegation in the JEC bilateral talks with the Swiss government on trade and investments. The Swiss side was represented by Ambassador Erwin Bollinger, Head of Bilateral Economic Relations Division and Federal Council Delegate for Trade Agreements of  State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) ; and Minister Karin Buechel, Head of Division Free Trade Agreements of SECO.

Panga said the bilateral meeting included an exchange of views on Domestic Economic Situation; Philippines-European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Free Trade Agreement; bilateral relations and economic cooperation; and statements of the private sector.

Of the 60 Swiss companies operating in the Philippines, 28 are registered with PEZA as export-oriented IT and manufacturing enterprises.

“These Swiss locators have by far generated P19.618 billion in cumulative investments and 8,547 direct jobs,” Panga noted.

Panga pinned his hopes on President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos, Jr.’s participation in the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, as these could help attract more foreign direct investments (FDI) from Switzerland and the European Union.

At his predeparture ceremony at the Villamor Airbase on Sunday, Marcos said he hopes his inaugural participation at the WEF will persuade more firms to invest in the country.

The president said he will also highlight the country’s infrastructure projects, initiatives to achieve food security and energy security and pandemic-resilient supply chain to demonstrate the country’s readiness to host the operations of multinational firms.