The Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines (JFC)—led by foreign industry leaders—has hiked its foreign direct investments (FDIs) to $128 billion by the end of 2030, even as data from the central bank indicate four straight months of declines.
In a press conference in Makati City, the JFC said it said it hiked the $50-billion FDI target announced in 2020, as it already reached $78 billion, which it seeks to increase by another $50 billion in the next eight years.
“We set the target at 50 (billion dollars) and it’s not 78 (billion dollars), so make a total of 128 (billion dollars) by the end of 2030,” American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (AmCham) Executive Director Ebb Hinchliffe told reporters.
“Anything is gonna be achievable because of the— especially in the last year—performance by the legislative - the Public Service Act, the retail trade bill,” he added.
Former President Rodrigo Duterte in March signed a law amending the Public Service Act, effectively allowing foreigners to fully own public services such as telecommunications and railways, among others.
He also approved amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, which removed the categorization of enterprises, and cut down the minimum paid-up capital of foreign retailers to P25 million from $2.5 million.
Among the sectors American businesses are looking at expanding into in the Philippines include energy, especially nuclear and green energy, technology, electronics, and agriculture, which are likely to be seen by mid-2023.
“One project alone could easily be a billion pesos and then you add three or four of those up,” Hinchliffe said.
“The biggest bang for the buck for me, I hope, would be something we could give more foreign direct investment into the agriculture sector — if it’s technology, if it’s machinery, or what it might be in agriculture here in the Philippines,” he added.
Hinchliffe’s remarks were echoed by Australia-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce (ANZCHAM) Philippines vice president Bradley Norman, who also welcomed the recent economic reforms.
“The figures are, obviously, they’re estimates based on one of the better expression a best guess, but what they do show is the optimism around the Philippines with the recent reforms and reforms that are still being undertaken by Congress,” Norman said in the same briefing.
Data from the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), however, show that FDI net inflows into the country fell by double-digits to $797 million in August, down for the fourth straight month.
“We’re not out of the woods on the supply chain, delivery times, semiconductor chips, all of those play a big part,” AmCham’s Hinchliffe said, citing the impact of the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
“There’s no question we’ll rebound from that. You see the optimism from our statement,” he added.
For his part, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) president Lars Wittig said the record seen in the past year indicates that the country continues to enjoy a good foundation.
“The foundation is absolutely there, is more resilient. FDI is more sustained business type of FDIs than in most other countries that we compare ourselves with, especially within ASEAN,” he said.—AOL, GMA Integrated News