DTI pitches PH growth story to Sokor in­vestors

Sun Star Bacolod - - Business -

SEOUL — Trade Sec­re­tary Ra­mon Lopez high­lighted the strong macroe­co­nomic fun­da­men­tals and the con­tin­u­ing growth story of the Philip­pines to South Korean busi­ness ex­ec­u­tives dur­ing a high-level roundtable meet­ing on Tues­day.

Lopez em­pha­sized the op­por­tu­ni­ties South Korean com­pa­nies, par­tic­u­larly in the man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try, may ex­plore when lo­cat­ing and ex­pand­ing their op­er­a­tions in the Philip­pines.

He un­der­scored the wider mar­ket ac­cess for com­pa­nies in the coun­try through the pref­er­en­tial trade agree­ments it has with the United States (GSP), Eu­ro­pean Union (GSP+), as well as with the Eu­ro­pean Free Trade As­so­ci­a­tion (EFTA).

“The Philip­pines is an ideal geo­graphic base for South Korean man­u­fac­tur­ing com­pa­nies, specif­i­cally those fo­cus­ing on au­to­mo­tive and auto parts, elec­tron­ics and semi­con­duc­tors, food pro­cess­ing, agribusi­ness, and other la­bor-in­ten­sive in­dus­tries.,” Lopez said in a news re­lease is­sued by the Depart­ment of Trade and In­dus­try (DTI).

“South Korea is a man­u­fac­tur­ing pow­er­house and ex­pand­ing (its) busi­ness op­er­a­tions in the Philip­pines is a win-win, with busi­nesses hav­ing greater mar­ket ac­cess for their prod­ucts and be­ing our part­ner in pro­vid­ing jobs and op­por­tu­ni­ties to Filipinos,” he told more than 30 South Korean busi­ness ex­ec­u­tives from con­struc­tion and in­fra­struc­ture, tool and die, as well as en­ergy in­dus­tries, in a meet­ing at the South Korean cap­i­tal.

The trade chief like­wise dis­cussed pos­si­ble op­por­tu­ni­ties in the coun­try’s e-ve­hi­cle (EV) in­dus­try. He cited the tar­iff mod­i­fi­ca­tion of EV prod­ucts un­der the ASEAN Free Trade Agree­ment, as well the con­sid­er­a­tion of a tar­get date for full EV use and reg­is­tra­tion in Philip­pines.

The In­ter­na­tional Elec­tric Ve­hi­cle As­so­ci­a­tion and other com­pa­nies in the eve­hi­cle in­dus­try in South Korea, such as Hyundai Mo­tor, POSCO E&C, and Phillips Group, are en­cour­ag­ing the Philip­pines to pro­vide ad­di­tional sup­port to at­tract more in­vestors in the e-ve­hi­cle and parts in­dus­try, aside from the usual fis­cal in­cen­tives.

Tax in­cen­tives are not enough in de­vel­op­ing an in­dus­try of the fu­ture. The as­so­ci­a­tion sug­gested tax hol­i­days and mone­tary sup­port per unit pro­duced, as well as gov­ern­ment cost shar­ing in charg­ing/bat­tery re­place­ment sta­tions, the same pack­age that are be­ing pro­vided by the gov­ern­ments of South Korea and other ASEAN mem­ber states.

Ac­cord­ingly, these coun­tries have lo­cal pro­grams to strengthen the in­dus­try to en­cour­age the shift to e-ve­hi­cle, such as free reg­is­tra­tion and free park­ing for e-ve­hi­cles. “This would have to be a spe­cial pro­gram sim­i­lar to our CARS pro­gram, so it can quickly at­tract in­vestors in the in­dus­try,” Lopez said.

Lopez, to­gether with DTI Un­der­sec­re­tary Ce­ferino Rodolfo, ad­dressed the is­sues and clar­i­fied the con­cerns raised by ex­ist­ing lo­ca­tors on the Tax Re­form for At­tract­ing Bet­ter and Higher Qual­ity Op­por­tu­ni­ties (TRA­BAHO) Bill, which ra­tio­nal­izes tax in­cen­tives to in­vest­ments. “The TRA­BAHO Bill will of­fer mod­ern and more rel­e­vant in­cen­tives,” Rodolfo said.

Lopez also as­sured in­vestors that there will be a good tran­si­tion pe­riod in the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the new tax sys­tem and that there is no rea­son for them to de­lay their ex­pan­sion pro­jects in the coun­try.

Dur­ing the meet­ing, DTI Un­der­sec­re­tary Rafaelita Ald­aba also pre­sented the gov­ern­ment’s in­clu­sive, in­no­va­tion-led, in­dus­trial strat­egy (i3s) as sup­port for the so­cioe­co­nomic agenda of Pres­i­dent Rodrigo Duterte. The i3s com­ple­ment the gov­ern­ment’s thrust to pro­mote an in­no­va­tion ecosys­tem in the coun­try, with dif­fer­ent sec­tors part­ner­ing to gen­er­ate more jobs and im­proved busi­ness op­por­tu­ni­ties.

This re­moves ob­sta­cles to growth, at­tracts in­vest­ments, and cre­ates jobs. It also sets up the en­vi­ron­ment to strengthen mi­cro, small and medium en­ter­prises, and the do­mes­tic sup­ply chains, en­cour­ag­ing their par­tic­i­pa­tion in global and re­gional value chains, and link man­u­fac­tur­ing with agri­cul­ture and ser­vices.

The roundtable meet­ing was at­tended by Philip­pine Am­bas­sador to the Re­pub­lic of Korea Noe Al­bano Wong, Board of In­vest­ments Direc­tor An­gel­ica Cayas, and high­level busi­ness ex­ec­u­tives of 16 South Korean com­pa­nies.

Aside from POSCO, Hyundai, and Phillips, also present were Lotte E&C, Seo­hee Con­struc­tion Co., Korea Western Power, Daeil Corp, In­ter­na­tional Elec­tric Ve­hi­cle Expo, Daekyung Eng. Co. Ltd., Korea Agri­cul­tural Ma­chin­ery In­dus­try Co­op­er­a­tive, Pyung­taek Port, and Korea Im­porters As­so­ci­a­tion.

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