‘PH favored for US, European investments’

Standard Chartered has tagged the Philippines as one of the most favorable countries for foreign investment in Southeast Asia.

In a statement on Wednesday, the multinational banking giant cited its second “Borderless Business” study as showing that European and US companies ranked the Philippines among the top five countries in the region for opportunities to establish or expand their sourcing, selling or operations over the next six to 12 months.

“With regulations noted as the number-one concern among respondents looking to expand overseas, it could suggest an opportunity for the Philippines to increase foreign investment through greater awareness of the ease of doing business locally,” it said.

The study was conducted in November and December. Over 1,000 chief financial officers and senior treasury professionals of companies with a turnover exceeding $500 million in the US, the United Kingdom, Germany and France took part in it.

This comes as the government is pushing to amend Republic Act 7042, or the “Foreign Investments Act of 1991,” which Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez 3rd said was “immediately doable to attract more foreign direct investments and help ensure the long-term recovery of our economy.”

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas projects job-generating foreign direct investments (FDI) to pick up to $7.5 billion this year from $6.54 billion in 2020.

The central bank said the forecast was “in line with the consensus view of a recovery in investment sentiment, given better global and domestic economic prospects next year.”

The Standard Chartered study also said Asia remained a major growth region, with over 85 percent operating and implementing in the area or considering it for business activities.

“It is apparent that businesses are beginning to pay greater attention to overseas growth and investing for the future,” Torry Berntsen, chief executive officer of Standard Chartered in Europe and Americas, was quoted as saying in the statement.

“Sustainability, digitization and the need to understand regulation are not just key to how business will be conducted, they are also opportunities for companies to increase operational efficiency, grow internationally and stay ahead of the competition,” he added.