German investors taking a closer look at PH (Inquirer)

More German firms exploring the possibility of setting up shop in the country, as the Philippines remained an attractive investment destination given the continued improvements in the governance and business climates.

Nadine Fund, general manager according to the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc. (GPCCI), disclosed that they have been “receiving an influx of inquiries from German businesses which are considering the Philippines for new ventures.”

The Philippines, she said, is a preferred investment site because of the country’s skilled and highly educated workforce, as well as being a large market of more than 90 million people.

Also encouraging German investors was the result of the latest World Bank “Ease of Doing Business” report, which cited the Philippines having jumped 30 spots to rank 108th in the world. This was the biggest improvement for any of the 189 countries covered by the report.

Fund noted that the governance and regulatory reform measures under the Aquino administration are now paying off and are being reflected in these reports, which “will definitely encourage German firms to seriously take a closer look.

The World Bank report, which was released last month, showed that the Philippines made gains in seven of the 10 indicators measured by the survey. The most significant jump was noted in the area of “resolving insolvency” where the Philippines improved by 65 spots to 100th.

Fund however stressed the need for the Aquino administration to further strengthen its fight against corruption and promote transparency and accountability in governance to attract more trade and investments.

She said the World Bank’s positive review of the Philippine business environment “came at an opportune time” when the government was conducting a thorough investigation of the controversial P10-billion misuse of the Priority Development Assistance Fund (PDAF), allegedly involving Janet Lim-Napoles and some legislators.

“Bringing back investor confidence needs a lot of painstaking effort to weed corruption in the government and to make the Philippines a top investments haven,” Fund said.

She added that a lot of foreign investors also face roadblocks, such as legal security and the constitutional provision on limited foreign ownership of private businesses.

“Inasmuch as we are delighted about the positive outcome of the government efforts in the past few years—and we do notice the positive impact—doing business here still includes many hurdles that need to be tackled by the government in order to position the country as a top investment location,” Fund explained.

Some indicators that the Philippine government needs to further work to reach a satisfactory level included education and legal security, GPCCI added.

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