MANILA – More Chinese companies are keen on investing in the Philippines, encouraged by its robust economic growth and a huge market.
“We received a lot of (business) delegations that are inquiring about all (sectors) especially in the tourism, infrastructure, chemicals, fruits and so many,” bared Angel Ngu, honorary president of the Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Inc.
Ngu noted several Chinese firms are interested in the Philippines with the normalization of relations of the two countries following the visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to China in October 2016.
“A lot – not only tourists, but at the same time businessmen (engaged in) manufacturing and also some of the big companies – are coming to the Philippines,” he said Thursday during the China-Philippines dialogue.
Ngu said China particularly wants to participate in the Philippine construction and real estate sector.
“I can say on this year, we have an increase of around 15 percent. We foresee that it will increase maybe by next year to 30 percent, so everybody in our line was upgrading our own facilities not only in quality but also in quantity,” he said.
Aside from China, Ngu said prospects are also good for foreign investments from other Southeast Asian countries to pour into the Philippines.
“I have some inquiries from Malaysia and Singapore, even Taiwan. They are coming because the Philippines is a huge market. They say, we have a hundred million population,” he added.
Meanwhile, Ngu underscored the need for the Philippines to facilitate the entry of more investments which can boost the economy and provide job opportunities.
“So I think the Congress should help also in opening the door for foreign investments to come in…We have to open up some of the areas that we cannot (participate) especially in infrastructure business,” he said.
Ngu was referring to the 60-40 percent constitutional foreign-ownership provision that requires at least 60 percent of a company located in the Philippines to be owned by Filipinos, limiting foreign ownership to 40 percent.
However, Jose Luis Yulo Jr., president of the Chamber of Commerce of the Philippine Islands, disputes the assertion that foreign investments do not come to the country as a result of the 60-40 percent rule. He blamed, instead, peace and security and repeated violations of the sacrosanct nature of contracts.
“Not because of we don’t own land. They (investors) cannot own land in Thailand, they cannot own land in Japan, they cannot own land in China. So that’s not the issue,” he said.
“The issue is peace and security. The issue is (that) our contract is respected by our judiciary,” he added.