Philippines’ economic transformation set to grow trade with Malaysia – Marcos

KUALA LUMPUR – The Philippines’ economic transformation, which provides many new investment opportunities, will give the country a chance to increase the level of trade with Malaysia moving forward.

In his keynote address at the Philippines Business Forum today, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr said the Philippines has rolled out the country’s development plan for 2023-2028.

“The country has been open and transparent and these discussions that we have are not simply for us to explain to our prospective partners what is happening and what we are planning to do in the Philippines.

“(We want) to listen to all of you and to hear what, in your view, are the necessary changes in the elements that we have to put together to make the Philippines a more attractive investment destination,” he said.

He said the country has come up with a development plan centred on partnerships and one of the central elements of the economic policy that it has is the importance that the country has put into partnerships with the private sector.

Marcos said in the context of businesses and partnerships, the government would need partnerships with every sector of government and the private sector which played an enormous part in those development plans that the Philippines have.

“Malaysia is still the fourth top source of foreign direct investment (FDI) to the Philippines. The FDI from Malaysia stands at about US$108 million (US$1=RM4.53) and continues to indicate strong interest in the Philippines from Malaysia.

“We have met with (several) Malaysian businesses from key sectors such as agriculture, transportation and technology. Their insights from these meetings convinced us that it is the right way,” he said.

He said the country has embarked upon the correct way and changes that are needed to make the Philippines an ideal investment partner for Malaysian businesses.

Marcos said the engagement with Malaysian companies and business leaders earlier today yielded interesting results and is expected to provide higher potential growth and mutually beneficial outcomes for both Malaysian and Philippine companies.

“At present, Malaysian investments already provide a valuable contribution to the Philippines and its economy, particularly in the administration of food security, infrastructure development and job creation for our country.

“We continue our commitment to support not only prospective Malaysian investors but also Malaysian companies currently doing business in the Philippines,” he said.

He said the government had broadened the effort to liberalise businesses and sectors by passing key landmark legislations such as the retail trade liberalisation act, the foreign investment act, the public services act and the renewable energy act.

“Through these measures, we open up (several) sectors including air transport, telecommunications, shipping, retail and renewable energy to foreign ownership.

“As you can imagine, we could not have achieved these changes without close coordination with our partners in the legislature.

He said the country has made its corporate tax system more business-friendly with a lower tax rate and improved mechanism for tax and duties incentives.

“We continue to seek ways to facilitate and expedite investments,” he said.

He added that the government also recently established the green lanes for strategic investments as a means of applying the whole government approach to make it easier for foreign partners to contribute to the development and competitiveness of the Philippines.

During his three-day official visit to Malaysia, ending today, Marcos also held bilateral talks with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim in Putrajaya. – BERNAMA / pic credit: Anwar Ibrahim FB