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Hosting of APEC 2015 seen as new chance to attract investments

The Aquino administration expects Manila’s hosting of another high-profile event next year, which is expected to be attended by  government and business leaders from various part of the globe, would generate more foreign direct investments (FDIs).

In a statement, the country’s Investor Relations Office (IRO) said yesterday that the government is keen on marketing the Philippines anew as a prime investment destination when it serves as host for the 2015 APEC Summit.

The Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit in Manila follows the World Economic Forum on East Asia, which the Philippines hosted last month for the first time.

Given the large membership of APEC, which is composed of 21 economies from Asia and those surrounding the Pacific, the Philippines will take advantage of the hosting opportunity to sell its strengths and potentially generate additional FDIs.

This early, concerned government agencies and private-sector groups have started meetings for the formulation of a master plan for the country’s hosting.

Guillermo Luz, the private-sector co-chair of the National Competitiveness Council (NCC), said hosting of high-level business conferences meant not only providing a venue for the meetings but also working keenly on fulfilling the agenda of generating investments.

As such, the year-round series of APEC meetings to be held in the country in 2015 is expected to highlight myriad investment opportunities in the Philippines and how the Aquino Administration has made it easier for foreign investors to invest in the country.

“Our country is a nice place to hold international events. But apart from providing a venue for meetings and parties, we have a clear objective of investment promotion,” Luz said during the recent meeting of concerned government agencies and private-sector groups on the preparation for the 2015 APEC Summit.

Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory L. Domingo, who is the government co-chair of the NCC, said the Philippines’ hosting of the APEC Summit comes at an ideal time because of recent positive developments in the economy that can be used as selling points.

“A significant benefit of hosting high-profile events, such as the APEC Summit, is the promotional mileage. With the spotlight turned to the Philippines, the world is able to learn more about the strengths of the country,” Domingo said.

The Philippines last year secured investment grades from the three major international credit rating agencies—Fitch Ratings, Moody’s Investor Service, and Standard & Poor’s. They all cited the country’s improved fiscal situation, ample foreign-exchange reserves, stable banking system, and positive growth and inflation dynamics.

Last month, S&P lifted anew the country’s credit rating by a notch above the minimum investment grade.

“As we welcome business and government leaders from different parts of the globe to our shores, we want to tell them that the Philippines, which has become a rare bright spot amid uncertainties in the global economy, is an ideal place for investments,” Domingo said.

“This moment, when the country is said to be entering the demographic sweet spot, is the opportune time for any business to start marking its place in this vibrant economy,” he added.

Last year, net inflow of FDIs to the Philippines reached $3.86 billion, up by 20 percent from $3.215 billion the previous year.