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Crisis viewed as PHL’s chance to snag investment

REUTERS

THE pandemic offers an opportunity for the Philippines to attract foreign investment in manufacturing in order to rebalance the economy away from its traditional reliance on consumption, Stratbase ADR Institute President Victor Andres C. Manhit said.

“While Philippine economic growth has been traditionally mostly consumption-led, this might be an opportune time to start shifting to a more investment-led economy and to focus on scaling up the country’s role in the global supply chain,” according to Mr. Manhit, who was speaking on the second day of the Pilipinas Conference 2021 Tuesday.

He added that the pace of the economic recovery will depend on how fully the Philippines utilizes its current trade agreements, such as the privileges it enjoys with the European Union (EU).

“To bounce back more quickly, the Philippines needs to recalibrate its growth trajectory by strengthening cooperation with its long-standing economic partners, including the EU, through trade and investments,” he said.

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said during his closing remarks that the Philippines has benefited from greater market access to the EU under the EU Generalized Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+), adding that finalizing the free trade agreement would firm up the EU’s engagement.

“For 2020, total exports to the EU amounted to 6.2 billion euros. In terms of eligible exports, 2.1 billion euros worth of Philippine exports are covered by GSP+, of which 1.6 billion euros availed of GSP+ preferences. Likewise, GSP+ utilization grew from 72% in 2019 to an all-time high of 75% in 2020,” Mr. Lopez said.

“We would also welcome closer engagement with the EU… possibly through the resumption of the Philippines-EU FTA negotiations. The Philippine government believes that trade and investment policies must be people centered and should always promote inclusive growth,” he added. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave

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