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29 May 2014

HOUSTON, Texas—Judging from the huge turnout at the 3rd Private Sector-Led Philippine Investment Roadshow here, more and more American companies are now taking a second look at the Philippines for possible investment opportunities.

This was the assessment of Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. at the end of a well-attended business forum on “Philippines: Asia's New Emerging Tiger,” that capped the two-day investment roadshow in Houston.

Now on its third year, the private-sector investment roadshow, which was initiated by Ambassador Cuisia, seeks to highlight the remarkable feat and success the country's economy has achieved under the stewardship of President Benigno S. Aquino III and to encourage international investors to do business in the Philippines.

“Many corporate executives and investors in the United States are eager to do business with us after hearing for themselves the economic transformation that is taking place in the country now,” Ambassador Cuisia said after the forum, which was held at the new BBVA Compass Building, one of the newest additions to the Houston skyline.

​During the business forum, attendees were also apprised on business opportunities in major industries such as information technology, business process operations, tourism, infrastructure, energy, biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, real estate, financial services, and regional economic development.

Other speakers included Consul General Leo Herrera Lim, Honorary Consul Mercado, Dr. Bernardo Villegas of the University of Asia and the Pacific and Alfredo Austria, President of DMCI.

In his presentation, Dr. Villegas cited three factors for the rapid growth of the Philippine economy during the past two years. These are the $25 billion remitted by overseas Filipinos working in over 200 countries and territories around the world; the $15 billion earned by the BPO-BKO industry which continues to grow dramatically; and the increased government spending on essential infrastructure.

For his part, DMCI’s Austria said that much of the country’s economic growth can be attributed to growth in the construction and real estate sectors.

“Outlook for Philippine construction and real estate remain positive, with civil construction expected to grow 61 percent in 2014 and real estate development at 35 percent,” said Austria.

According to Austria, developments in the office, retail, residential, industrial, and hotel and tourism sectors have all contributed to positive growth in the economy. An example of this is the rise in office space needed by businesses, including business process outsourcing.

“Manila has overtaken Mumbai as the second leading outsourcing location in the world. Cebu, Davao City, Sta. Rosa, Bacolod, Iloilo, and Baguio also made it to the Tholons list of Top 100 Outsourcing Destinations of 2014,” said Austria.

Among those who attended the business forum was Reggie Gray, President of the Houston Intercontinental Chamber of Commerce who said: "We are very excited to work with the Philippines and connect Houston businesses."

​An American energy executive who declined to be identified said his company will be going to Manila in October after hearing about the many possible investment opportunities that the Philippines has to offer.

"I now know that the Philippines is a country full of opportunities, capable of several redundancies in cases of natural disasters, a progressive renewable energy policy and a good place for manufacturing." he said.

​Kevin Loder of the bank holding company BBVA Compass said his company was proud to be a partner in the business forum. "It's a truly exciting time for the Philippines,"​ Loder said, adding that he was being convinced by Philippine Honorary Consul Ethel Mercado, who is also the National President of the Federatio of Philippine-American Chambers of Commerce, ​to consider opening a branch in Manila.

In his remarks, Ambassador Cuisia encouraged investors to take advantage of the rapid economic growth of the Philippines as well as the natural and human resources the country has to offer.

“I encourage you to consider business opportunities in the Philippines because of the country’s strategic location, highly educated bilingual and talented work force, its democratic system, a business-friendly environment, attractive tax incentives for key projects, and being part of a larger ASEAN market which promises a large consumer base of 600 million with strong purchasing power,” Ambassador Cuisia said.

The envoy also highlighted recent achievements of the Philippine economy, which have helped create a sound investment climate such as the expansion of air routes to the US by Philippine flag carriers, advances in intellectual property rights, progress on worker rights, and the recent visit to Manila of President Barack Obama.

“The Philippines has made impressive strides towards creating a positive business climate. First, the US Federal Aviation Administration reinstated the Philippines to a Category 1 aviation safety rating, which would allow the expansion of air routes to the US by Philippine flag carriers. This positive development benefits both countries as it creates more opportunities for trade and tourism,” Ambassador Cuisia said.

“Based on significant advances in the protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, the US announced the removal of the Philippines from the Special 301 Watch List. Additionally, President Obama’s visit highlighted the importance of strong economic engagement for the continued growth of both the Philippines and the United States. Lastly, acknowledging the progress on worker rights issues in the Philippines, the US closed the GSP review on a labor case filed by a labor group against the Philippine Government without affecting the Philippines’ GSP trade benefits,” he added.

According to Ambassador Cuisia, the Philippines is the perfect gateway to the ASEAN market of approximately 600 million consumers with a combined GDP of more than $2.2 trillion and an economic growth rate that is faster than the world average in the past decade.  He said the region is also the fourth largest export market and third largest trading partner for the US.

He said American businesses in the ASEAN Region are optimistic that their profit and growth outlook for their firms in the Philippines are very bright and encouraging.

Ambassador Cuisia thanked Consul General Herrera-Lim and the Philippine Consulate General in Los Angeles​ for helping organize the event along with Honorary Consul Mercado, Tess Tuazon of the Philippine-American Chamber of Commerce of Texas, ​Gus Mercado of Datalogics and Gary Ilagan of the law firm Munsch, Hardt, Kopf and Harr PC.

While in Houston, Ambassador Cuisia also visited the Houston City Hall and the Texas Medical Center and met with members of the media and the Filipino-American Community. He met with Councilman Richard Nguyen to discuss developing economic ties and also to thank him and the Vietnamese-American Community for their support to victims of Typhoon Haiyan. ###

29 May 2014

29 May 2014

29 May 2014

Invest in the Philippines. Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. encouraged investors to consider business opportunities in the Philippines, citing the country's strategic location, highly educated and bilingual workforce, democratic system, and business-friendly environment.

29 May 2014