29 November 2021 (Monday)
Pasay City – Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) Director General Charito “Ching” Plaza has renewed calls for more South Korean investors to position their businesses in the Philippines as the country gradually eases restrictions in a bid to revive the economy.
This comes after PEZA held its “11th Global Biz with PEZA” forum last November 23, with the session focused on fostering Philippine-South Korea investment opportunities through ecozone development.
Both the South Korean Ambassador to the Philippines, His Excellency Kim In-Chul, and the Philippine Ambassador to South Korea, Her Excellency Maria Theresa Dizon-De Vega, were present during the forum to share their expertise in terms of trade and economic bilateral relations between the two countries.
“The Philippines continues to invite the business engagement of our friends in South Korea in our growth story – a story now informed and shaped by the realities of the new normal and the need to build back better and to recover in a forward-looking, innovative, green, and resilient manner,” noted Ambassador De Vega.
Korean investors contribution to the Philippines amidst pandemic
Among the companies registered with PEZA, there are 320 South Korean locators contributing PhP 53.982 Billion in investments, $1.095 Billion USD in exports and employing 42,675 workers as of September 2021.
To complement this, PEZA implemented various “balancing acts and business assistance” to its registered enterprises and ensure unhampered services as they contribute to the global supply and demand.
“We are not letting this crisis hinder us; rather, we continue our relentless efforts to attract and invite investors. We establish new partnerships as well with various government agencies so that we may be able to urge more local and foreign investors to do business in the Philippines by improving the efficiency factors for investments,” stated the PEZA Chief.
Statistics likewise confirm the continuous valuable contributions of South Korean investors in the Philippine economy even during this pandemic. Ambassador De Vega reported that the pandemic did not hamper the Philippines’ economic relation with South Korea, stating that “in 2020, the Republic of Korea was the 5th major trading partner of the Philippines (out of PH’s 225 trading partners), 7th biggest export market (out of 213 PH’s markets) and 4th largest import supplier (out of 205 PH’s suppliers). total bilateral trade was valued at us $13.92 billion.”
the Republic of Korea was the fifth major trading partner of the Philippines our of 225 trading partners, the seventh biggest export market our of 213 markets, and the fourth largest import supplier out of over 200 PH suppliers.”
Addressing efficiency factors
Despite the strong and continuous trade partnerships between the two countries, Korean Chamber of Commerce Philippines (KCCP) President Ho-Ik Lee has pointed out that there are still various reasons affecting the Korean investors’ decision to invest in the Philippines. Such includes “the limitation and restrictions of Korean investors’ ownership under Philippine policy.”
Korean Chamber of Commerce Philippines (KCCP) President Ho-Ik Lee sharing some of the concerns of investors considering the Philippines as investment destination during the open forum of the Global Biz with PEZA featuring Korea.
While land ownership in the country is a policy embodied in the Philippine Constitution, the PEZA Chief explained that the reason why PEZA is adapting the Transformation Road Map as it seeks to address the lacking efficiency factors that investors are looking when investing.
“On top of PEZA’s brand of service, we are now thinking global and acting local with the Transformation Road Map, which aims to ceaselessly promote and enhance the competitiveness of the Philippine market and contribute to the global supply chain,” said Plaza.
PEZA’s efforts has been seconded by the testimonies from Samsung Electro-Mechanics Philippines Corporation (SEMPHIL), PEZA’s top Korean locator company.
According to SEMPHIL Chief Finance Officer Mr. Dong-hoon Lee, “PEZA has been a close partner in our company’s journey more particularly on streaming lines of rules and procedures, making it easy for investors to understand quickly and decisively. The one-stop-shop scheme of PEZA make every business operation easier. We can say that investing in the Philippines under PEZA has a great advantage, with a professional, efficient, and knowledgeable team to support investors need.”
PH-Korea Free Trade Agreement
Complementing various efforts implemented by PEZA and the national government to continue help revive the economy, Ambassador Kim and Ambassador De Vega, along with the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Seoul, have also encouraged Korean companies to look into the Philippines for more investment opportunities especially in advanced and future-centric industries with the finalization of the Philippine-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA).
Her Excellency Maria Theresa B. Dizon-De Vega, the Philippine Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, discussing about the Philippines as an investment destination during the Global Biz with PEZA featuring Korea.
“Korea’s status as a high-technology, innovation-focused economy makes it an attractive development partner for the Philippines in various sectors, ensuring the Philippines’ development in these sectors is critical in helping the country fulfill its stated long-term commitments towards inclusive green growth and sustainable development,” explained Ambassador De Vega.
With this, Her Excellency noted that “We hope that businesses present here today will take advantage of the [Philippine-Korea Free Trade Agreement] once it becomes effective by next year so we can increase trade between our two countries. With an FTA in place, the Philippines remains as an ideal investment destination and partner for companies in Korea.”
Ambassador Kim likewise added that “When the FTA takes effect, a framework for future-oriented collaboration will be created not only to promote trade and investment between our two countries but also to tackle the spread of infectious disease and climate change together.”
His Excellency Kim In-Chul, the Korean Ambassador to the Republic of the Philippines delivering his message during the Global Biz with PEZA featuring Korea.
Meanwhile, PTIC-Seoul commercial counselor Jose Ma. Dinsay has advised potential investors to take advantage of the time ahead of the effectivity of the FTA to “immediately benefit from all the features that the FTA can offer.”
For her part, Director General Plaza noted that “PEZA continues to ensure the attractiveness of the Philippines to our investors. We do not only seek to achieve but we also believe that we can attain AmBisyon Natin 2040 where we create a much inclusive growth for the Philippines.”