The Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines (JFC) said on Wednesday it aimed to have new foreign direct investments (FDI) in the Philippines reach $50 billion by 2030, and that the country could realize its “enormous” potential with the right policies in place.
At the Ninth Arangkada Philippines Forum conference, Peter Hayden, president of the American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (Amcham), told reporters that the JFC’s 2010 goal of reaching $10 billion in additional FDI and an additional 1 million jobs had been “achieved.”
“As Arangkada starts…a new decade, the JFC is setting [a] new target of $50-billion FDI and 3 million new jobs for the Philippines,” he said.
“We can achieve this target, but only with the support of our many partners in the government and Philippine business groups. The potential for the Philippines is enormous if realized with the right policies and investments, including foreign investments,” he added.
To fulfill this, the Amcham chief said, “there are baseline fundamentals that need to move forward.”
These include focusing more on technology infrastructure, increased investments in internet access and broadband technology, and investments in power generation and public transport.
“There are multiple speed bumps in the road ahead, but from the JFC’s [point of view], we see a bit of optimism and momentum that we are in the right direction,” Hayden said.
His remarks came after the Senate approved on November 26 Senate Bill 1357, or the “Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act (Create),” the latest version of the second package of the government’s Comprehensive Tax Reform Program.
This version provides an outright 10-percentage-point cut in the country’s corporate income tax (CIT) rate, lowering it from 30 percent to 20 percent for local businesses with net taxable income equivalent to P5 million and below, and with total assets (excluding land) not exceeding P100 million.
Other corporations will benefit from their CIT rate being lowered to 25 percent from 30 percent.
The measure also modernizes fiscal incentives by making them performance-based, targeted, time-bound and transparent — which some business groups had raised concerns about.
But these groups are now more upbeat after the final version of the bill was passed, according to Amcham Senior Advisor John Forbes.
“We are much more optimistic of the final result after all the legislative process,” he said, noting that the JFC was focusing on the bigger picture.
“There are many other parts of the economy that are separate. The Philippines is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world. Tourism, agriculture, 100 million in the domestic market and [the] opening up of [the telecommunications sector] — the larger picture is the basis of our target,” he added.
The JFC is a coalition of the American, Australian-New Zealand, Canadian, European, Japanese and Korean chambers of commerce and Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters Inc.
It represents more than 3,000 member-companies with over $230 billion in trade and some $30 billion in investments in the country.
Launched in 2010, Arangkada Philippines is the major advocacy of the JFC to increase investments and employment in the country.