29 September 2023

The Philippines is “On Fertile Ground” and Ready for Growth

HSBC Philippines recently staged “On Fertile Ground – A World of Opportunity for the Philippines,” gathering thought leaders, economic experts, business leaders, and government officials to collectively discuss the country’s readiness to grow amid a favourable business and economic outlook.

“The Philippines is currently one of the fastest growing economies in ASEAN.1 It is indeed on fertile ground, ready and geared-up for growth. Businesses seeking to enter Southeast Asia see the Philippines as the region’s point of entry and one of the top new markets for expansion,2” said HSBC Asia Pacific Co-CEO Surendra Rosha in his opening speech while referencing the recently released HSBC Global Connections survey. “HSBC’s global footprint and our market-leading cross-border banking solutions make us the ideal partner to match the Philippines’ strengths with opportunities all around the globe,” he added.

Philippines - A World of Opportunity

Introduction of structural reforms to promote sound fiscal management, digital transformation, and an open government were the highlights of Department of Budget and Management Secretary Amenah Pangandaman’s presentation. Some reforms she cited include the creation of the country’s first-ever Sovereign Development Fund or Maharlika Investment Fund, proceeds of which would be used to generate optimal returns on investments, while contributing to job creation, poverty reduction, and sustainable economic development. Moreover, she expressed commitment to further improving the country’s business environment through the implementation of trade liberalization reforms such as the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act, Amendments to Public Service Act, Amendments to Foreign Investments Act, Amendments to Retail Trade Investments Act.

Pangandaman emphasized enthusiasm in creating strategic co-investments with the private sector saying, “Through the help of our partners in prosperity such as HSBC, we are determined to make the Philippines an investment destination to achieve our medium-term objective of becoming an upper-middle-income country by 2028.”

Meanwhile, Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo Pascual shared initiatives to stimulate growth and investment in the Philippines. Among those mentioned include:

  • Make it Happen Campaign, which has resulted in notable leads from foreign manufacturing companies
  • Presidential visits to foreign countries and one-on-one meetings with potential investors
  • Aligning sector-focused and company-specific promotions with priority industry clusters and enhancing competencies of the Filipino workforce to meet industry demands
  • Improving the ease of doing business by implementing EO 18, Green Lanes for Strategic Investments to expedite and streamline the process and requirements for issuing permits and licenses; the Strategic Investment Priority Plan (SIPP)

“We are prioritizing public-private partnerships (PPP) in sectors of physical and digital connectivity, water resources, health, power, and agriculture. We are building better and building more,” Secretary Pascual concluded.

Investing in the Philippines

Business leaders from multinational companies and local large corporates sat together to share insights and views on what makes the Philippines an attractive investment destination and expressed requirements to make doing business in the country easier.

In the panel discussion, HSBC Philippines President and CEO Sandeep Uppal shared, “The Philippines’ opportunity is best defined by the 3 “Gs:” a growing economy; growing population; and growing trade liberalization --- these make the country an attractive investment destination.” When asked about the way to further drive the country’s growth he said, “As the world of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is a competitive one, we should share the Philippines’ growth story consistently at every opportunity with overseas investors and help investors bring or expand their businesses here in the Philippines.”

The panel discussion was also participated by Nestle Chairman and CEO Kais Marzouki, Ayala Corporation President and CEO Cezar “Bong” Consing, JG Summit President and CEO Lance Gokongwei, and Magsaysay Group of Companies’ President and CEO Doris Magsaysay Ho.

  1. The Philippines had fastest GDP growth in the world in Q1 - BusinessWorld Online (bworldonline.com)
  2. Businesses see the Philippines as key entry to Southeast Asia - BusinessWorld Online (bworldonline.com)

The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited
The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited is the founding member of the HSBC Group. HSBC serves customers worldwide from offices in 62 countries and territories. With assets of US$3,041bn at 30 June 2023, HSBC is one of the world’s largest banking and financial services organisations.

About HSBC Philippines
HSBC has been operating in the Philippines for 148 years and is a leading international universal bank in the country. It serves its customers through three global businesses: Wholesale Banking, Global Banking and Markets, and Wealth and Personal Banking. The Bank has a network of 6-strong branches located in Metro Manila, Cebu and Davao, and a Global Service Centre servicing local and international HSBC markets.