Jul 032013

MANILA, Philippines – Investment pledges approved by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) grew by over 90 percent in the first semester from a year ago as more companies expressed plans to set-up manufacturing facilities in the country.

PEZA director general Lilia De Lima told reporters in a chance interview yesterday investments approved by the agency for the January to June period amounted to P83.692 billion, posting a 91.9 percent growth from the P43.611 billion in the same period last year.

“The biggest chunk (of approved investments) was for electronics,” she said.

She said most of the investments were from Japanese companies.

The government is optimistic the country could attract more foreign investments as the Philippines is now being considered as a place to do business by European companies.

“What is good is we are now on the radar screen of European investors,” De Lima said.

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Given the recent visit of high-level European government officials to the Philippines, European Union Ambassador Guy Ledoux told reporters firms from that region are most likely to check out investment opportunities here.

Apart from European firms, American companies are likewise looking at the country as an investment destination.

De Lima said that during a recent trip to the US, firms engaged in manufacturing and information technology have expressed interest to set-up facilities here.

She said the Philippines is being considered as a place to make investments given its skilled and young workforce.

With more foreign investors likely to enter the country, she also said new economic zones are being developed.

At present, the country has 286 economic zones.

Firms which locate in economic zones enjoy incentives such as income tax holidays and duty-free importation of capital goods.

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