The Philippine Embassy in Madrid, in cooperation with the Cámara de Comercio de Madrid (Chamber of Commerce of Madrid), held a business and investment seminar to promote economic opportunities in the Philippines and provide Spanish companies with details on how to enter the Philippine market.
The event, hosted at the premises of the Cámara de Comercio de Madrid, saw the attendance of almost 70 companies in and around the Madrid autonomous community. Participants came from diverse sectors, including infrastructure, construction, and engineering; pharmaceuticals; food and beverages; real estate and hotel development; emergency services and products; telecommunications; education; and shipping and logistics.
Philippine Ambassador Philippe J. Lhuillier, in his opening remarks, highlighted the continuous rapid economic growth of the Philippines in the past several years. He informed attendees of the Duterte administration’s strong focus on infrastructure development through its flagship Build, Build, Build initiative, while adding that this was a huge opportunity for Spain as many of its companies are noted for their expertise in construction.
Ambassador Lhuillier also noted that a number of Philippine companies have already made large investments in Spain as well, and that the government had recently purchased a number of aircraft from Spain as part of the AFP Modernization Program. He encouraged Spanish companies to consider the Philippines as their potential regional hub for operations in Southeast Asia, given the close cultural and historical affinity that both countries share, and the access that the Philippines has to the greater ASEAN market of 650 million consumers.
Third Secretary and Vice Consul Mikhal de Dios then presented specific information on the Philippines’ country profile and priority sectors, its strong record of economic development, and the numerous reforms undertaken by the administration to improve the ease of doing business. He also discussed the incentives for renewable energy investments in the country, the GSP+ status with the EU that the Philippines enjoys, and the current state of bilateral trade and investment relations with Spain, while detailing the positive developments that were already in the offing.
Commercial Counsellor Froilan Pamintuan, head of the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Paris, presented the details of the Foreign Investment Act and the numerous options for entry of foreign corporations into the Philippines. He then described the different types of special visas for investors and gave a general overview of investment incentives, before highlighting the Philippines’ annual sectoral trade fairs and expositions that are open to foreign participants, including Manila FAME.
The seminar then moved to an open forum and networking reception, before concluding with one-on-one company meetings, in which the Embassy officials and PTIC Paris jointly addressed concerns and queries from several individual companies.