President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday made a pitch to international business groups to come to the Philippines, vowing to open the economy wider to investors during an economic briefing in New York.
The President also sought partnership with investors from the United States and ASEAN as the Philippines “swings the doors” to its economy following the COVID-19 pandemic in a dialogue with members of the US-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Business Council and the US Chamber of Commerce.
Speaking at The Carlyle Hotel in New York, Mr. Marcos said his government “will swing the doors even wider for high-value investments from both the domestic and international business communities, with a sharp focus on broad-based job creation, expansion of digital infrastructure, research and development.”
“Our projected economic performance in the medium term is expected to surpass our regional neighbors…We invite strategic investors from the US to take part in the Philippines’ economic resurgence,” he said.
“It is our belief that the Philippines is the smart investment choice and the best time to do business with us is now,” the President added.
His administration’s eight-point socio-economic agenda aims to cut poverty incidence and elevate the country to upper-middle-income status, the President added.
“We are implementing the country’s first-ever medium-term fiscal framework. This is a fiscal consolidation strategy that will secure the fiscal stability of our macroeconomic fundamentals,” he told the combined group of Filipino and international business leaders.
In the earlier meeting with the US-ASEAN group, Mr. Marcos expressed optimism that the Philippines would be able to forge deals with more American investors and business firms.
“We really have to leverage whatever assets, whatever capabilities, whatever we have so that we can maximize our ability to grow and to pull the economy. Let us find new ways,” Marcos said.
“Let us find new ways to partner. Let us find new ways to develop. Let us find new ways to strengthen this relationship between the United States, ASEAN, and the Philippines. And in that way, the synergies that we will find in that kind of relationship will be to the benefit of us all,” he added.
Mr. Marcos reiterated his administration’s priority on agriculture and investing on travel infrastructure and invited “strategic investors” from the US “to take part in the Philippines’ economic resurgence.”
The President noted that the US and the Philippines have had “long, strong, and enduring ties” in trade, commerce, development, and “all other aspects of a relationship between two sovereign nations.”
“Today, the US is our third largest trading partner and the fourth major source of foreign direct investment,” he said, adding the Philippines’ projected economic performance in the medium term “is expected to surpass our regional neighbors.”
“We will continue our high investments in public infrastructure by harnessing our public-private partnerships mechanisms. We will improve the interconnectivity of our transport networks by fast-tracking the development and enhancements of our railways, airports, seaports, and road infrastructure,” the President added.
This was Mr. Marcos’ second Philippine Economic Briefing following the one held in Singapore during his state visit there last month.
“It is our belief that the Philippines is the smart investment choice and the best time to do business with us is now,” he added.
Marcos also discussed his administration’s bilateral economic and investment agenda, according to a statement released by state-run Radio Television Malacañang (RTVM) in a Facebook post.
For over three decades, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been serving as the premier advocacy organization for US corporations operating within the ASEAN.
The council also provides a platform for the US private sector to promote mutually beneficial trade and investment relations between the US and Southeast Asia, the leading investment destination of American businesses in the Indo-Pacific.
Mr. Marcos also shared on his official Facebook page that he had an “enlightening” meeting with the executives of American global food corporation Cargill on the fourth day of his working visit to the US.
The President said he and Cargill executives discussed possible cooperation in the field of agriculture.
“We discussed how to attain food security and self-sufficiency and explored ways to boost agricultural productivity in the Philippines,” he said.
Mr. Marcos’ meeting with top officials of Cargill happened after his participation in the 77th session of the United Nations General
During his speech delivered before UN member-states, the President emphasized the importance of the agriculture sector and food security in the development of the Philippines.
Operating for over 155 years, Cargill provides agricultural products, farming services, and risk management solutions worldwide.
To date, it has around 155,000 employees serving customers and communities in over 70 countries or regions through safe, responsible, and sustainable means.
Apart from Cargill, Mr. Marcos also held a series of meetings with other officials of American companies during his working visit in the US.
“The PEB New York will focus mainly on economic and industry updates, to be led by Secretary Benjamin Diokno of the Department of Finance (DOF) and Secretary Alfredo Pascual of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI),” the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) said in a press release.
Economic managers are expected to explain in detail Marcos’ pronouncement during his speech at the 77th session of the United Nations General Assembly that he expects the Philippines to be a “moderately prosperous” country by 2040.
Diokno, Pascual, Budget Secretary Amenah Pangandaman, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan, Bangko Sentral Governor Felipe Medalla, and Ayala Corporation Chairperson Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala will be leading discussions during the PEB.
“The discussion will revolve on economic development and outlook, fiscal management, budget priorities, and the business climate in the country,” the DBM said.
Meanwhile, President and CEO Sabin Aboitiz of Aboitiz Equity Ventures, who is also the head of the Private Sector Advisory Council, will also join the panel to share his insights on investment opportunities.
The second panel will tackle Philippine trade and industry, tourism, transport, energy, and information and communications technology.
According to the DBM, the collaboration between the government and the private sector showcased in the PEB is expected to result in lasting ties with key stakeholders that will propel the inflow of investments in the country.
The PEB, organized by DOF and BSP, is an avenue to touch base with over a hundred decision-makers to discuss the status of and outlook on the economy.