Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said the absence of American investors in the bidding for the New Clark City development project is an indication they are not interested to take part in the country’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ infrastructure program.
Dominguez, in a meeting with US State Department assistant secretary Manisha Singh, questioned the absence of American investors in the Duterte administration’s flagship infrastructure projects to develop the Clark Freeport Zone, a former United States military airbase, into the country’s next big metropolis.
Dominguez told Singh the absence of American investors in the bidding for the New Clark City development project could indicate that American investors “have no interest” in taking part in the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program.
Dominguez said he had asked the same question before members of the US-Asean Business Council and the American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines in separate meetings earlier this year.
Dominguez said the government, which was funding the transformation of the former US military base into New Clark City, announced the public bidding for the project before the international community, but no American companies took part in the bidding process.
“Last time I spoke with the US-Asean Business Council and the US Chamber here, I asked them one question. Why did they not bid for the project in Clark? The refurbishment of the Clark airbase is done with our own funds. The project is around $250 million. We bid this out around this time last year,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez said the Philippines welcomed US companies here, as their investments would prove beneficial for the country’s fast-growing economy.
Dominguez some American companies submitted bids only for the design component of the New Clark City project. “Maybe they don’t have an interest here,” Dominguez told Singh.
Singh said she would speak with leaders of US infrastructure companies to tell them about the immense investment opportunities in the ‘Build, Build, Build’ program of the Duterte administration.
“We would like to participate, we would like to engage,” Singh said, noting that there might have been some “disconnect” that needed to be corrected to ensure that US companies were aware of the opportunities in the Philippines.
Dominguez informed Singh that New Clark City would be complemented with the development of the Clark International Airport, which would include a new passenger terminal and possibly a second runway. This new metropolis will have a new backup government center, world-class sports facilities and industrial estates.
Singh said she would explore a possible tie-up between US and Japanese companies in investing in New Clark City.
Singh also discussed with Dominguez US President Donald Trump’s new Indo-Pacific Strategy, which aims to enhance US private sector participation in the region. The US program also involves improving digital connectivity and cybersecurity in the region, promoting sustainable infrastructure development and strengthening energy security and access.