By Genalyn Kabiling
BANGKOK — The Philippines remains a “very good investment destination” amid stable economic growth, credit rating outlook, and financial reforms, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Friday ahead of President Duterte’s meeting with Thai businessmen here.
According to Lopez, the President is expected to urge the Thai business community to invest or expand their ventures in the country during his visit to Bangkok.
“It will be an open discussion that will basically allow the President to present Philippines as a very good investment destination,” Lopez said in a media interview ahead of the President’s participation in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit this weekend.
“Some of these private companies actually are already operating in the Philippines. We are basically asking them to be more active and increase their exposure, their investments,” he added.
Duterte is scheduled to arrive in Bangkok Friday night mainly to attend the annual Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit on June 22 and 23.
He is set to meet with top business executives of various Thai companies on Saturday afternoon before attending summit discussions. These Thai firms are involved in banking, food, manufacture, agriculture, agri-business, real estate, among others, according to Lopez.
So far, Lopez said there is no scheduled signing of new business deals during the President’s visit to Thailand.
To convince the Thai businessmen to do business in the country, he said the President is also expected to highlight the Philippine economy’s vibrant growth as well as affirm his commitment to provide a business-friendly environment.
“The President will assure them all these guarantees and protection of their investments as well as present to them a good business case for the Philippines in terms of improvement in credit rating, several reforms we are undertaking in trade, investments, tax, financial reforms,” he said.
He said the government was also pursuing the liberalization of foreign investment in terms of foreign equity restriction.
“We would like to liberalize many of those so that we can attract more investments into the country and present business really as one of the vibrant countries in the region,” he said.
“In fact, we are the second fastest growing in the ASEAN region so we would like to reemphasize that,” he added.