Trade chief to foreign groups: Remain upbeat on Philippine prospects

Trade Secretary Gregory Domingo has appealed to foreign business groups “not to be negative” about upcoming prospects and support the Philippine government’s thrust to achieve economic growth.

In a statement, Domingo said he had told foreign businessmen that the country’s sustained economic growth would rest on the successful partnership between the government and the business community.

“The success story will really depend on us. We don’t even have to make a larger effort this year to achieve big economic growth. My appeal to you is not to be negative, not to block it. Just let it happen.” he said.

On the government’s part, Domingo assured foreign investors that their recommendations, as outlined in Arangkada Philippines publication, have already been considered by the government, which has started the process of introducing “policy reforms in providing better business environment and improving the country’s competitiveness.”

Arangkada Philippines 2010—an advocacy paper prepared by the Joint Foreign Chambers—contained policy recommendations to the government, which focused on accelerating the growth of seven big industry winner sectors, namely agribusiness; information technology/business process outsourcing; creative industries; infrastructure; manufacturing and logistics; mining; and tourism, medical travel and retirement.

The trade chief further revealed that he also sought the assistance of the Joint Foreign Chambers in formulating the Industry Development Roadmaps initiated by the Department of Trade and Industry.

“We have to rely a lot on the inputs from the industry to have a credible industry development road map…We hope you give this effort full support,” he said.

On improving competitiveness, Domingo urged the foreign firms to join and respond in the surveys conducted by international organizations such as the World Bank-Doing Business Surveys, which has been assessing the ease of doing business among 183 countries.

He noted that only a few companies would send back the accomplished survey questionnaires to survey firms, thus giving an inaccurate picture of the business landscape in the country.

“Our target by 2016 is to be on the top 50 (countries). My appeal to you is please fill up the forms and submit it. That would really help us get an appropriate ranking,” Domingo told foreign investors.

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