Tetangco receives lifetime achievement award from JFC

By Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) 

Joint Foreign Chambers of the Philippines presidents with past and present Arangkada Lifetime Achievement Awardees during the recently concluded sixth anniversary of Arangkada Philippines Forum at the Marriott Grand Ballroom. In photo, from left, are Ho-Ik Lee (KCCI), Bruce Winton (AmCham), Julian Payne (CanCham), 2014 Arangkada Lifetime Achievement Awardee former PEZA director general Lilia de Lima, PAMURI chairman Shameem Quraeshi, Tom Grealy (ANZCham), 2017 Arangkada Lifetime Achievement Awardee former BSP governor Amando Tetangco Jr., Hiroshi Shiraishi (JCCIPI), 2015 Arangkada Lifetime Achievement Awardee SGV founder Washington Sycip, AmCham executive director Ebb Hinchliffe, Evelyn Ng (PAMURI), Arangkada chief-of-party John Forbes, and JCCPI vice-president Nobuo Fujii.

MANILA, Philippines — Former Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) governor Amando Tetangco Jr. has been awarded the Arangkada Philippines Lifetime Achievement award by the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) of the Philippines.

The Arangkada Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes individuals of any nationality that have lived and worked in the Philippines for 25 years and have contributed significantly to improving the country’s business environment.

JFC said Tetangco was chosen as this year’s recipient given his accomplishments as central bank governor which played an important role to the foreign investment community.

Among these accomplishments include managing inflation, the exchange rate, and the debt burden highly effectively, achieving record levels of reserves exceeding $80 billion, making reforms to increase the foreign banking presence in the Philippines, raising confidence of rating agencies to give investment grade ratings, and emphasizing financial inclusion and financial education for young people, among others.

“Being BSP governor is a role that had many challenges but one that I will always cherish. I feel very honored and also humbled to have been given the opportunity to serve in that capacity,” Tetangco said.

“Now that my term at the BSP has ended, I look forward to the work exemplified by private sector organizations like the JFC that proves public service is not a monopoly of the government.

The private sector has a tremendous role to play in improving people’s lives. I will constantly bear this lesson in mind as I move on to this new chapter of my life as a private citizen,” he added.

Source: http://www.philstar.com:8080/business/2017/09/22/1741357/tetangco-receives-lifetime-achievement-award-jfc

At least $10 B yearly FDI possible with reforms — JFC

By Richmond Mercurio (The Philippine Star) 

MANILA, Philippines —  The Philippines can easily attract at least $10 billion in foreign direct investments (FDI) annually once existing restrictions and improvement on its overall competitiveness are addressed, the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) of the Philippines said.

JFC officials said yesterday while the country may be considered the “rock star of Southeast Asia” as far as economic expansion is concerned, it remains a laggard in terms of FDI due to several factors affecting its business environment.

“The Philippines should receive $10 billion a year. But what is preventing the country’s economy from running on all cylinders? Growth of business processing, manufacturing, and tourism have been high, but the growth of agriculture has been weak and mining has moved backward despite its high potential,” Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Philippines president Hiroshi Shiraishi said.

“The really relevant criteria is how we are doing compared with our leading ASEAN neighbors such as Vietnam, Thailand and so on. Our target should be to have at least the ASEAN average in FDI. And we still have a long way to go,” Canadian Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines president Julian Payne said separately.

The country’s net FDI last year zoomed 40 percent to a new record level of $7.9 billion, surpassing the full-year target of $6.7 billion.

“The key point is how quickly the new administration can proceed with its stated intention to remove restrictions of FDIs. There have already been a number of initiatives,” Payne said.

In a new Arangkada Project publication released yesterday, the JFC outlined various recommendations on reducing cost of doing business and increasing competitiveness and ease of doing business in the Philippines.

“There was a lot of concern about the reputation impact of the extrajudicial killings. But most companies have realized that in most sectors, it hasn’t changed the day-to-day operating environment and most companies are pushing ahead,” Australian-New Zealand Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines president Tom Grealy said.

“The underlying economic management is good, and there is fundamental reform coming which will potentially set the Philippines up for the next 20 years, particularly the tax reform so it’s quite actually an exciting time,” he added.

With regard to tax reform, the JFC said concerns have been raised by its members over proposed provisions in the first TRAIN that could have negative effects on business process management, ROHQ, automotive, and beverage firms.

The group said some of these concerns were ameliorated in the House version of the new law, while others may be resolved in the Senate and the bicameral reconciliation process.

“JFC members support taxes that are more progressive than regressive, that incentivize individuals and corporations to work hard to produce income, save, and invest, that impose a significant burden of taxation on consumption, support investment and job creation, support needed physical and social infrastructure programs, and are collected fairly, fully, efficiently, and without corruption,” the group said.

Source: http://www.philstar.com/business/2017/09/15/1739165/least-10-b-yearly-fdi-possible-reforms-jfc

Major reforms required for 9% GDP growth–JFC

By  Cai Ordinario | September 14, 2017

BUSINESSMEN belonging to the Joint Foreign Chambers (JFC) on Thursday identified reforms that must be undertaken by the Duterte administration to grow GDP by 9 percent and achieve the goals of its 10-point socioeconomic agenda.

The JFC’s recommendations are contained in its publication, titled  “Arangkada Philippines and the 10-Point Socioeconomic Agenda of the Duterte Administration”, which was presented during a forum held in Pasay City.

“Despite the impressive progress, in comparison to its other major Asean neighbors, the Philippines still lags behind in terms of overall competitiveness,” the report read.

Citing the most recent data from the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Report, the Arangkada publication noted that the Philippines rated considerably lower than Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia, and only slightly ahead of Vietnam.

“The unfortunate 10-place drop from 47 in 2015 to 57 in the 2016 WEF competitiveness ranking underlines the need to both sustain improvements and increase efforts to move ahead of the competition, which is not standing still in their own efforts to attract more investment,” the report added.

The JFC said it outlined numerous recommendations for boosting the economy, increasing competition and improving the investment climate, infrastructure building, rural development, investing in human-capital development and strengthening the implementation of the reproductive-health law.

The group also called for promoting science and technology, developing creative industries, promoting manufacturing and strengthening the poverty alleviation and social-protection program.

“The government should adopt policies to double the GDP growth rate to 9 percent. This has to be supported by a clear long-term industry policy,” the Arangkada report read. This clear long-term industry policy, the JFC said, will allow the Philippines to also increase its earnings from merchandise exports by 15 percent annually and hit the $100-billion mark.

European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines President Guenter Taus said for the longest time factories were only doing assembly work.

When it comes to manufacturing, Taus added the countries that have strong industries are South Korea, Japan, the United States  and EU. The manufacturing sector has created 5 million to 7 million jobs in these countries.  In order to “create” a manufacturing sector, Taus said the government needs to support small and medium enterprises to enable them to manufacture and deliver goods.

“If you look at $25 billion or $30 billion in export in the electronics sector and look at the related import figures, you will be shocked. Everything we actually do here, what we keep here is labor because all the rest is import, and what we export is a semifinished good, not the finished product,” Taus added.

American Chamber of Commerce senior adviser John D. Forbes said this is linked to the recommendations from the last Sulong Pilipinas summit, which urged the government to focus on the country’s competitive advantages.

Forbes added, however, the industry road maps have not identified specific commodities or products that the Philippines can concentrate on.  While a 9-percent GDP growth and a double-digit export growth has not been recorded in nearly 10 years, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia said these are “doable targets” for the Philippines.

The highest GDP growth registered by the Philippines in nearly 40 years is 7.6 percent, while the highest export growth in 10 years was posted in 2010 at 33.98 percent.

“A higher growth is always an ambition, and we all want to grow the economy faster, exports, investments, so [there’s] nothing wrong with that. This is why they are using the word arangkada,because it’s really quantum jumps, quantum leaps,” Pernia said at the sidelines of forum.

“[These targets are] feasible, especially when we remove the restrictions on foreign investment and the negative list,” he added.

Philippine Association of Multinational Companies Regional Headquarters Inc. Director Safdar Quraeshi said agriculture is a “clear competitive advantage” for the country.

However, Quraeshi added many agribusinesses do not have access to shared machineries, solar technology and other innovations.

He said the government must extend incentives to these agri firms while encouraging the growth and development of companies belonging to the business-process outsourcing sector.

In the January-to-June period, the economy grew by 6.4 percent, slower than the 7 percent posted in the same period last year.

GDP expanded by 6.5 percent in the second quarter on the back of strong manufacturing growth, trade, and real estate, renting and business activities.