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BOI grants tax incentives to 6 power projects worth P146B

The Board of Investments (BOI)  has granted tax and fiscal incentives to six power projects worth P146.18 billion accounting for more than half of the P258.709-billion total approved investments as of September this year. Total BOI approved investments in the January-August period this year dropped by 26 percent as against the P350.34 billion in the same period last year. Earlier, Trade and Industry Undersecretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr., who is also BOI managing head, attributed the slower investments inflow to the absence of big tickets that have registered with the BOI last year like the P62.8-billion power project of Ridondo Peninsula Power. However, records show that the biggest power project approved by the BOI was a bigger P63.166-billion project of St. Raphael Power Generation Corp., a unit formed by Semirara Mining Corp. St. Raphael …

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Congress sets fiscal perks harmonization deadline

The Departments of Trade and Industry and Finance have until December this year to agree on the Harmonization of Fiscal Incentives Bill otherwise this priority bill will not have a chance of passing in the 16th Congress. Rep. Miro Quimbo, chairman of the powerful House ways and means committee, issued this ultimatum to both government agencies in a talk with reporters after his speech before the Makati Business Club. “Both line agencies have not yet genuinely agreed to the final version. If they don’t send it before end of year, I don’t think it will have a chance in this Congress,” Quimbo said. According to Quimbo, he got some feedback that some senior officials of the DTI were not happy with the supposed consolidated version and had been asking for an audience. “I urge …

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Ambitious Pan-Pacific trade pact now taking shape

Sydney– The shape of an ambitious Pan-Pacific trade agreement was ''crystallising'', trade ministers said Monday, although the United States and Japan remain divided over market access. Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb said officials had laid the groundwork for the conclusion of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal, which would encompass 40 percent of the global economy. ''Over the course of our weekend meeting, we have spent a considerable portion of our time in one-on-one discussions,'' said Robb, who hosted the Australian leg of the discussions in Sydney. ''That has allowed us to make further progress in the negotiations on market access for goods, services and investment. ''We consider that the shape of an ambitious, comprehensive, high-standard and balanced deal is crystallizing.'' The TPP deal has been the subject of discussions for several years, with negotiations slowing …

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Chinese investors keep low profile

Chinese businessmen are heavily investing in the country's agriculture, mining and tourism sectors but have been keeping low profile in light of the sensitive political situation between China and the Philippines. Francis Chua, chairman emeritus of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told reporters on the sideline of the recent Philippine Business Conference (PBC) in Manila Hotel, that the continued investments of Chinese businessmen into the country only indicate that businessmen in both countries have not been affected by problems at the diplomatic level. "On the local side or the private sector we are not affected, they (Chinese) keep coming in and continue investing,"  Chua said noting that partnerships and joint ventures are being forged between Filipinos and Chinese businessmen. Chua, however, said that Chinese investors prefer to keep a low profile …

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Gov’t needs stronger leadership – ADB official

Philippine banks need to look beyond the domestic market while government leadership must shift to a higher gear to support local businesses and domestic financial institutions to become big, regional players, particularly in Asean, according to an official of the Asian Development Bank. “If the government supports local businesses to grow regional, then the banks will follow. To some extent this can be driven by a government policy,” said Asian Development Bank (ADB) Deputy Head Noritaka Akamatsu of the Regional Economic Integration Office. “Generally speaking, the Philippines, so far, has been very much market-driven instead of the government taking a very strong leadership. That’s a characteristic of the Philippine development plan,” Akamatsu said in an interview. First, the government has to have a development program that will create strong leadership and depending on …

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Momentum building on TPP trade deal

Sydney – Momentum is building towards a pan-Pacific trade agreement, representatives of Australia and the United States said Saturday as talks between trade ministers began in Sydney. The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which would encompass 40 percent of the global economy and include 12 nations, has been the subject of negotiations for years. US President Barack Obama said in June he hoped to have an agreement on framing the deal, which has been slowed by debate on key details between the US and Japan, by November. Australian Trade Minister Andrew Robb, hosting the Sydney talks, told the opening plenary that reports from negotiators were that ''there does seem to be a real head of steam''. ''I think a lot of progress has been made,'' he said. ''Clearly I think we are working now to try and …

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Asean 2015 to widen market base for PH biofuels

The harmonization of biofuel standards – being an outcome of the scheduled ASEAN economic integration next year – will fundamentally widen the export base of any surplus capacity in the country’s production of coco methyl ester (CME). This was indicated by Energy Undersecretary Zenaida Y. Monsada in a forum, stressing that with harmonized Asean standards, the region as a whole “can have better bargaining strategy for its products with other global economic blocks,” like Europe or North America. It must be recalled that CME producers in the Philippines have previously sounded off excess production because the increase in biofuel blend for diesel products domestically is being pushed gradually. Some of them are already exporting to other countries, like Germany, but with the ASEAN economic integration, Monsada noted “that overseas market base can still …

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Improved Customs processes catching up with ASEAN integration

Impact of the government's trade facilitation measures is expected to be strongly felt by end of next year yet in time for the full implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC). This has been the timeline committed by the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and  Congress. "Ninety percent  of import transactions will be cleared by Customs within 4 or three hours from the time of filing by the last quarter of next year," Customs Commissioner John Philip Sevilla said in a speech at the 2nd day of the 3-day Philippine Business Conference (PBC). Speaking on the PBC topic "Trade Facilitation in the Philippines: Accomplishments and Progress," Sevilla admitted that the agency has not done a lot in the area of trade facilitation. "The national single window is not even functioning well as designed," he said. He …

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40th PBC submits 8-point Resolutions to PNoy

The following are the approved 8-point  Resolutions of the 40th  Philippine Business Conference and submitted to President Benigno S. Aquino III during the final day of the conference on October 24, 2014 at the Manila Hotel. 1.ENERGY AND POWER: •Resolution urging the National Government to formulate an integrated and sustainable energy and power development roadmap with a clear, definite target level of power supply capacity and rate; doable and time-bound strategies to achieve the desired goals; a well-defined process that shall be directed, facilitated and regularly reviewed by an authoritative body; and, premised on the goal to revitalize manufacturing, attract more quality foreign investments and achieve sustainable and inclusive growth •Resolution supporting the implementation of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Demand Aggregation and Auctioning Policy (DASAP)  which will induce transparent and efficient supply …

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Business to PNoy: Keep reform momentum

Acknowledging there is little time left before the presidential election in 2016, the business community yesterday advised President Aquino to maximize his remaining 2 years in office  to accomplish and implement the needed reforms to sustain economic growth. Alfredo Yao, President of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), told reporters at the closing of the  40th Philippine Business Conference (PBC) at the Manila Hotel that the business community have been cognizant of the time constraint the Aquino administration to act on the 8-point recommendations  of the  40th PBC. "He just have to make the most out of it," Yao said when asked if President Aquino still has enough time to address the PBC Resolutions. "We know the President is serious in doing his job and doing it right," he added. In …

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