The British Chamber of Commerce Philippines (BCCP) has divulged its “wish list” for the Philippines for 2023 that include the push to improve the ease of doing business and continued growth of exports to further liberalize the Philippine market.
At a media briefing on Thursday, Chris Nelson, executive director of BCCP, said the Philippines needs to further liberalize its economy. He noted that one of the keys in “opening things up” is gradually improving the ease of doing business.
While the Philippines has improved in this area, the BCCP official cited digitalization as the area of ease of doing business that needs more improvement.
“I would just like to highlight digitalization, clearly that has become very prominent during obviously the pandemic, when you had to do a lot of services online or delivered online and the Philippines needs to embrace that and further invest in that area,” Nelson said.
“And one which I’ve constantly said is a top priority of your own Department of Trade and Industry, that is the ratification of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership—the largest trading bloc in the world,” he added.
Nelson also revealed that BCCP is pushing for the “continued growth of exports to further liberalize the Philippine market.”
Aside from opening up the Philippine market and improving the ease of doing business, the BCCP official said the chamber is pushing for the extension of lower tariff rates in the next few years for meat products.
“The extension on tariffs, to lower tariffs by the executive order [EO], which will expire on the 31st of December 2022. This year it was obviously signed by the former president that was obviously [former] President Duterte. So we’re optimistic that President Marcos will sign that extension…it is important for our continued supply, keeping inflation down and obviously reinforces food security,” Nelson stressed.
EO No. 171 s. 2022, which was issued in May 2022 provided for the reduction of tariffs imposed on pork, corn, rice, and coal.
Moreover, Nelson said for 2023, the BCCP is “committed to promote and make the Philippines an investment destination.”
Last month, Nelson told reporters at the sidelines of the European-Philippine Business Dialogue that the amendments to the game-changing economic reforms including the Retail Trade Liberalization Act (RTLA) are considered a “very good move,” but stressed that the Philippines should “actually make sure people are aware of it and encourage and promote the Philippines as the best investment destination.”
Another priority in BCCP’s wish list for 2023, Nelson noted, is to boost infrastructure developments and digitalization.
“The British Chamber looks forward to allowing more investments to flow through various sectors, unlock new opportunities for UK companies, and make the Philippines the gateway to Southeast Asia,” Nelson said.