More European firms have expressed keen interest in locking in their Philippine investments, given the local economy’s robust growth, improvement in governance and the availability of young, skilled workforce in the country, the Philippine Daily Inquirer reported.
Companies from Finland, Sweden, Germany and the United Kingdom are now eyeing opportunities in the country’s manufacturing, shipbuilding, construction, energy and retail industries, following a successful European trade and investment mission held earlier this month by government officials.
Trade Undersecretary Ponciano C. Manalo Jr. noted that, as an offshoot of this mission, a 15-member delegation from Finland was scheduled to arrive in the country in January 2014, while another Finnish construction firm would be visiting within the year to explore prospects.
In Sweden, homegrown retail brands are considering setting up shop here. Automotive manufacturers were also encouraged to look at the country.
From Germany, two firms will visit the country this month to discuss manufacturing and shipbuilding prospects, while from the United Kingdom, two more trade and investment missions are set to arrive before the end of the year.
According to Manalo, financial and insurance firms from the United Kingdom are interested mainly in the country’s business process management sector, while other firms are looking at the Philippines’ automotive and infrastructure sectors, as well as the government’s public-private partnership (PPP) projects.
For PPP projects, UK-based companies are looking at health, education and even agriculture businesses.
A number of retailers in the UK are also interested in bringing their brands to the Philippines, which has a population of close to 100 million and which can be their strategic gateway to other Asean countries.
Manalo explained that it was no longer difficult to promote the Philippines given recent developments that saw banner economic growth over the past years and investment grade ratings from credit rating agencies.
“It is easier to promote the Philippines now because of the positive news, (which encouraged investors) to come to (our trade and investment missions). Before, we had to ask and request our target audience to attend our events. Now the interest level is so high, it’s very encouraging,” Manalo explained.
He noted that most of the businessmen they met in Europe were interested in investing and setting up shops here, and not just in increasing trade of goods and services.