European Chamber of Commerce unveils wishlist for Philippine economic recovery

The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) underlines in a recent press release the effective deployment of the national immunization program, the enactment of key economic reforms and the pursuit of economic response measures, as crucial points for the road to recovery. of the Philippines is gaining more stability.

ECCP President Lars Wittig emphasizes the vital role of vaccine administration and improving the country’s public health system to achieve the goal of pandemic and economic recovery. He said: “The fight against COVID is an uphill battle. But we are cautiously optimistic about our ability to recover. We need to keep the economy afloat and optimistic. “

In terms of COVID-19 vaccination, the Philippines ranks 9th in the ASEAN region in terms of the proportion of fully vaccinated individuals to the national population. “An accelerated rollout of vaccination and significantly reduced mobility restrictions could contribute to better performance in the fourth quarter in 2021 and a recovery in 2022,” said Wittig, acknowledging advances in vaccination and easing quarantine rules in in recent weeks, while noting the possible risks due to the Omicron variant.

The ECCP also verifies that economic gains can be achieved through the implementation of policies that encourage increased investor engagement in the Philippines. Economic policy reforms that remove barriers to foreign investment would stimulate healthy competition in the market and improve the ease of doing business.

In 2021, the Philippines ranked 52nd out of 64 economies in terms of global competitiveness, down from 45th in 2020. In the same year, the Philippines ranked 95th out of 190 economies in terms of ease of doing business. Likewise, the Philippines has yet to maximize its potential to attract more foreign players, with Oxford Economics Data ranking the country 13th out of 14 economies in FDI attractiveness. The economy remains among the most restrictive, ranking 81st out of 83 countries, according to 2020 OECD data on restricting FDI.

The Philippines accounted for only about 4.6% of the European Union’s $ 313 million FDI stock in the ASEAN region in 2019. For Wittig, allowing greater participation of foreign investors in the Philippines will attract more European companies in areas such as energy, water, waste management, smart infrastructure and mobility, which together offer social, economic and environmental opportunities. Wittig pointed out, “With economic reforms such as changes to the Public Service Law and the Foreign Investment Law, we can get a head start. But, in order not to lose, we have to do something now – bigger, better, and faster. Thanks to the changes to the Retail Trade Act, we can also offer a better range of options at better prices. With these measures, we can create more jobs and stimulate growth.

The ECCP applauds the efforts of the Philippine government to initiate reforms to attract more investment and jobs to the country. At the time of writing, the FIA ​​amendments have been ratified by the House and Senate and may soon be submitted to the President’s Office, while the RTLA amendments will soon be adopted. More recently, amendments to the PSA were approved at 3rd reading in the Senate, opening up 100% foreign ownership in sectors such as telecommunications and airlines. These three measures have been certified as urgent by President Duterte and their implementation is supported by DOF, NEDA and DTI, among other agencies.

For the House, the Philippines will be able to meet its growth target by also tackling fiscal measures and debt linked to the pandemic. Meanwhile, particularly in the run-up to the 2022 national elections, Wittig said: “We stand ready to work with the next administration to accelerate recovery and progress, as well as to shape a more inclusive and sustainable growth narrative. for the Philippines through increased trade and investment, improved competitiveness and ease of doing business continued pandemic response and restored consumer confidence. “

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