Stan­Chart, other for­eign banks, host PH govern­ment’s in­vest­ment brief­ing in New York

Business World - - BANKING & FINANCE -

NEW YORK CITY — Philip­pine eco­nomic of­fi­cials re­cently held a brief­ing be­fore a wide range of US-based port­fo­lio and di­rect in­vestors to show­case ris­ing busi­ness and in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in Asia’s next eco­nomic pow­er­house.

The event was the fourth leg of the in­ter­na­tional road show — the Philip­pine Eco­nomic Brief­ing that car­ries the theme: “The Ris­ing Philip­pine Econ­omy: Power Gains with Global Part­ners through Shared Goals.” It fol­lowed the Sin­ga­pore leg held in Au­gust, as well as the Tokyo and Shang­hai rounds in Septem­ber.

While the Philip­pines and the United States al­ready en­joy sig­nif­i­cant eco­nomic re­la­tions — with the US be­ing one of the Philip­pines’ big­gest trad­ing part­ners and among the ma­jor sources of re­mit­tances and in­vest­ments — the of­fi­cials be­lieve there is much room for busi­ness ties be­tween the two coun­tries to grow.

They said po­ten­tial in­vestors from the US will find do­ing busi­ness in the Philip­pines at­trac­tive, such as in the ar­eas of hous­ing and ur­ban devel­op­ment, man­u­fac­tur­ing, con­nec­tiv­ity, ed­u­ca­tion ser­vices, tourism-re­lated ser­vices, fi­nan­cial ser­vices, health ser­vices, coun­try­side devel­op­ment, and agri­cul­tural devel­op­ment.

The govern­ment del­e­ga­tion who spoke be­fore the US in­vestors in­clude Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Car­los Dominguez III, So­cioe­co­nomic Plan­ning Sec­re­tary Ernesto Per­nia, Bud­get Sec­re­tary Ben­jamin Dio­kno, For­eign Af­fairs Sec­re­tary Alan Peter Cayetano and Bangko Sen­tral ng Pilip­inas Deputy Gov­er­nor Diwa Guini­gundo.

Fi­nance Sec­re­tary Car­los Dominguez III, who heads the del­e­ga­tion of Philip­pine eco­nomic of­fi­cials, said: “The Philip­pines, which has be­come one of the fastest grow­ing and among the most re­silient economies in Asia, faces even more promis­ing times ahead on the back of the govern­ment’s mas­sive in­vest­ments in in­fra­struc­ture and hu­man cap­i­tal devel­op­ment along with its stead­fast com­mit­ment to sound eco­nomic man­age­ment, and the coun­try’s de­mo­graphic ad­van­tage aris­ing from its young and highly ed­u­cated work force.”

“For­eign in­vestors, in­clud­ing those from the United States, are very much wel­come to ex­plore in­come op­por­tu­ni­ties in our busi­ness-friendly coun­try and be part of our ex­cit­ing growth story over the medium to long term,” Dominguez said.

Bangko Sen­tral ng Pilip­inas Deputy Gov­er­nor Diwa Guini­gundo cited price sta­bil­ity in the coun­try as well as its healthy ex­ter­nal pay­ments po­si­tion: “Sta­ble in­fla­tion con­trib­utes to the over­all pos­i­tive in­vest­ment cli­mate in the Philip­pines. Our lat­est es­ti­mates up to 2019 show that in­fla­tion, aided by the con­duct of pru­dent mone­tary pol­icy, will stay well within the tar­get range of 3 per­cent +/- 1 per­cent­age point.”

“Our healthy ex­ter­nal pay­ments po­si­tion, marked by man­age­able balance of pay­ments and am­ple for­eign ex­change re­serves, gives in­vestors com­fort about the Philip­pines’ re­silience to any ex­ter­nal risks in the fu­ture,” Guini­gundo added.

So­cioe­co­nomic Plan­ning Sec­re­tary Ernesto Per­nia said: “The Philip­pine govern­ment is pur­su­ing trans­for­ma­tive ini­tia­tives, led by a pipe­line of game-chang­ing flag­ship in­fra­struc­ture projects that will sig­nif­i­cantly ease mo­bil­ity and de­velop al­ter­na­tive growth hubs across the coun­try’s piv­otal ur­ban and ru­ral cen­ters. The cur­rent ad­min­is­tra­tion is com­mit­ted to pur­su­ing this ag­gres­sive in­fra­struc­ture in­vest­ment pro­gram over the medium term to raise the coun­try’s com­pet­i­tive­ness and boost the econ­omy, reach­ing up to 7.3 per­cent share of GDP by 2022. In­vestors, both for­eign and lo­cal, are ex­pected to ben­e­fit from the wide-rang­ing in­come op­por­tu­ni­ties now and in the years to come.”

Bud­get Sec­re­tary Ben­jamin Dio­kno said the govern­ment’s bud­get pro­gram up to 2022 al­ready in­cor­po­rates the “Build Build Build” pro­gram, un­der which $160 bil­lion to $170 bil­lion worth of vi­tal in­fra­struc­ture projects will be rolled out over the next five years. “The Philip­pines will use its fis­cal space as well as pro­ceeds of the pro­posed Com­pre­hen­sive Tax Re­form Pro­gram to sup­port our bold in­fra­struc­ture devel­op­ment agenda. We are keen on hit­ting up­per mid­dle in­come sta­tus by 2022 and mak­ing our eco­nomic growth more eq­ui­table partly through in­fra­struc­ture devel­op­ment. This while we ex­er­cise fis­cal dis­ci­pline,” Dio­kno said.

For­eign Af­fairs Sec­re­tary Alan Peter Cayetano, who graced the event in sup­port of the eco­nomic team’s in­vestor re­la­tions ini­tia­tives, said: “The Philip­pines and the United States have had a long his­tory of friend­ship, sub­stan­ti­ated in part by con­tin­u­ally im­prov­ing eco­nomic ties. Not only are Amer­i­can com­pa­nies do­ing busi­ness in the Philip­pines, but Filipino con­glom­er­ates are also ex­pand­ing op­er­a­tions in the United States. Through this Philip­pine Eco­nomic Brief­ing, we wel­come more Amer­i­can friends in the busi­ness sec­tor to take ad­van­tage of ris­ing growth op­por­tu­ni­ties in the Philip­pines. To­gether, let us en­joy the mu­tual ben­e­fits of grow­ing eco­nomic re­la­tions be­tween the Philip­pines and the United States.”

Stan­dard Char­tered Bank, Cit­i­group, Deutsche Bank, and Mor­gan Stan­ley served as hosts of the event. Cit­i­group ViceChair­man of Cor­po­rate and In­vest­ment Bank­ing Jay Collins mod­er­ated the panel dis­cus­sion. Among the pri­vate sec­tor pan­elists is Jaime Au­gusto Zo­bel de Ayala, Chair­man and CEO of Ayala Cor­po­ra­tion.

Stan­dard Char­tered CEO in the Amer­i­cas Torry Bern­sten, who de­liv­ered the open­ing re­marks, said: “As one of the Philip­pines’ in­ter­na­tional bank­ing part­ners, it is our priv­i­lege to help pro­vide a plat­form to show­case the coun­try’s eco­nomic agenda and be a part of an in­ter­ac­tive ex­change of in­sights with our clients, part­ners, and in­vestors.”

Stan­dard Char­tered Bank also hosted ear­lier RoP in­vest­ment road show held in Sin­ga­pore in Au­gust. Lynette V. Or­tiz, Stan­dard Char­tered Bank CEO and Coun­try Head of Global Bank­ing in the Philip­pines, said: “Strong macroe­co­nomic fun­da­men­tals com­ple­mented by clear eco­nomic pro­grams po­si­tion the Philip­pines for stronger growth. As the old­est in­ter­na­tional bank in the coun­try, we look for­ward to our con­tin­ued part­ner­ship with the Repub­lic in achiev­ing its growth and eco­nomic tar­gets.”

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