Business & Economy

Lobby group urges more PH-US trade links

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The US-Philippines Society, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising the Philippines’ profile in the United States, wants more American firms to tap the lucrative trade and investment opportunities in the domestic market and take advantage of the stellar performance of the local economy.


In a briefing on January 30, former US ambassador to the Philippines John D. Negroponte noted that the country is a logical partner for the US as it has a natural advantage given the historical ties between the two economies.

That advantage is being boosted by the fact that some major American firms have been in the Philippines for 80 to 100 years, providing a “very deep” base of experience from which new investors can draw strategic insights.

Add to that also is the fact that the Philippines has a strategic geographical location in the region; is a largely English speaking nation; and boasts of a highly educated workforce, Negroponte said.

This is why the USPS, Negroponte added, has committed to make more efforts along the lines of bringing back home a better awareness of opportunities in the Philippines, particularly in the sectors of energy, services, mining, tourism, real estate, infrastructure and even technology.

“The progress of the Philippines has been very impressive, and we expect that positive trend to continue. It is, thus, important for us to help strengthen that message of positive developments and the opportunities that these represent for US firms. After difficult times, it’s time to look at the good news. A [2014 GDP growth of] 6.1 percent is impressive,” Negroponte said.

John Maisto, who served as a director of Philippine affairs in the 1980s, noted that the Philippines has a strong edge when it comes to technology “because of the number of Filipinos, with an average age of 23 years, able to deal in this new system of communication in doing work.”

“We look at all things as we try to highlight the opportunities that the Philippines has to offer. It’s not just the geographical location but also the educational levels of attainment. These are the positive things we want to be build upon to make the Philippines more competitive,” Maisto said.

“What we’ve also seen here is the interest of the government to implement smart policies to attract more foreign direct investments and provide the right atmosphere.”


Maisto however stressed that while huge opportunities abound, the Philippine government has an “obligation to push forward and take advantage of these opportunities. Investments have to be seduced, attracted and that’s the challenge of Philippines being in a dynamic region as Asia.”

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