Investors see positive HK-RP economic ties under Duterte gov’t

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

The Hong Kong Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Inc. (HKCCPI) the other day conveyed that under the Duterte administration, businessmen from Hong Kong have finally expressed confidence to invest more in the country.
In an induction ceremony in Manila, HKCCPI president Antony Chan said the Hong Kong Trade Organization is set to send a delegation from the Administrative Region to discuss advances on the two countries’ trade and economic relations.
“Now you can see peace and order is improving a lot, more people are coming in, they have more confidence in the Philippines,” Chan said.
With this improved ties, the HKCCPI president explained that this means more job opportunities for Filipinos which will eventually translate to increased tax revenue for the government.
“That is what we need in the Philippines,” he said.
In an interview, he told reporters that businessmen from their chamber are eyeing investments on tourism and manufacturing industries here in the Philippines.
“We have a federation of Hong Kong businesses, composed of 41 associations in Asia, Europe and North America. We tell businessmen in other places that it’s the time to invest in the Philippines,” Chan said.
According to the Hong Kong Trade Development Council, the Philippines as of now is the 14th largest export market for Hong Kong.
And just by 2015, Hong Kong imports from the Philippines increased by 10.3 percent to $7.2 billion.
The HKCCPI president mentioned that with the rescinded travel ban on the Philippines two years ago after the Luneta hostage taking incident in 2010, the investments from Hong Kong are now free to come in.
“Before, when we have the warning, there have been some restrictions on the investment, now it’s open,” he said.
As per Chan, their overall perception on Duterte’s economic policies is “very good.”
He believes that with the new administration and its economic policies, there’s an opportunity for an equal footing for both local and foreign investors.
“We expect the same treatment for local and foreign investors,” he said. “The 60-40 investment should be lifted in some industries like tourism and we are appealing that foreign investors be allowed land ownership.”
Under the 1987 Constitution, foreign ownership in the Philippines is limited to 40 percent and full ownership of corporations in the country is reserved only for Filipino citizens.
Early May, President Duterte has expressed that he’s open to lift the Charter’s restriction on foreign ownership of Philippine corporations.
However, he made it clear that matter of the constitutional limit on foreign land ownership, he opposed to the idea of selling of lands.

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