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