A Taiwanese investor is ready to finance an electronic manufacturing company in the Philippines to the tune of $12 million (P6 billion), according to the head of the Taiwan Economic Cooperation Office (Teco).
“Taiwan has one businessman willing to invest $12 million,” Gary Song-Huann Lin, Teco representative in the Philippines, said. “But I can’t give you his full name because others might obstruct his participation in the Philippines.”
Lin said his Taiwanese colleague was emboldened to invest his money in the country following the signing of a bilateral investment agreement (BIA) last month.
He was referring to the first updated investment agreement that Taiwan has signed with a country targeted by its New Southbound Policy, the Philippines among them.
Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy calls for the “development of comprehensive partnerships” within the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and South Asia regions, as well as with Australia and New Zealand. Teco said this policy involves 18 countries promoting regional exchanges and collaborations.
“I am happy to see that our investment will be properly protected, according to international standard, and it is timely for Taiwanese investments to come to the Philippines to join President Duterte’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ inclusive development program,” Song-Huann Lin told the BusinessMirror.
He said Taiwanese businessmen were emboldened to come to the Philippines and invest here because of Duterte’s announcement that Taiwan and the Philippines are closest neighbors who must be supportive of each other’s economic developments.
Lin and the Manila Economic Cooperation Office (Meco) representative to Taiwan, Angelito Banayo, represented their respective countries at the signing of the BIA in Makati City last December 6.
According to Taiwan’s Minister of Economic Affairs Shen Jong-chin, the agreement is a win-win for the economic development of both countries.
The agreement lays out a legal foundation for Taiwanese investors in the Philippines and Filipino investors in Taiwan, which will function as a safety net should they encounter conflicts while doing business abroad, according to Allan Lin, president of the Taiwan Association Inc. Philippines.
While the terms of the agreement have not been made public for the time being, a person familiar with the matter previously revealed that it puts in place mechanisms that make investments more transparent and the treatment of investors fairer, including provisions on how investors can seek government assistance when they run into trouble.
Given that markets have drastically changed in the two-and-a-half decades since the signing of a bilateral agreement, the new agreement is completely different, according to Lin.
“It is the ministry’s hope that similar BIAs can be signed with other countries that are the focus on Taiwan’s New Southbound Policy, such as Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and India,” Song-Huann Lin added.