US, PHL strengthen economic ties with focus on investment growth

PEZA Executives with the US Trade and Commercial Section Officials

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

In a significant move to bolster economic cooperation, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and officials from the US Trade and Commercial Section have pledged to deepen investment relations between the two nations.

The commitment came during a briefing held at the PEZA Office, where PEZA Director General Tereso O. Panga welcomed a delegation led by Economic Counselor Phil Nervig, showcasing the robust state of US investments in Philippine Economic Zones.

The United States stands as the second-largest foreign investor in the Philippines, with a 14.16% stake in Registered Business Enterprises (RBEs) within PEZA-led economic zones.

These investments are not only significant in monetary terms but also in their impact on the Filipino workforce, generating employment for over 365,000 individuals across 355 US locator companies.

Major investors include industry giants such as Texas Instruments, Collins Aerospace, and JP Morgan Chase Bank, illustrating the diverse range of sectors benefiting from this international partnership.

The discussions also highlighted the potential for collaboration under the CHIPS and Science Act, a strategic US policy initiative aimed at diversifying its semiconductor supply chain. This collaboration underscores the critical role the Philippines plays in the global semiconductor industry, housed predominantly within PEZA’s jurisdiction.

Anticipation builds for the high-level US Presidential Trade and Investment Mission scheduled for March 2024, led by US Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo. This mission, a testament to the commitments made by President Joseph R. Biden during President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s official visit to the US, aims to further elevate US investments in the Philippines, which currently stand at PhP 404.37 billion, yielding significant export revenue for the country.

US Economic Counselor Phil Nervig expressed appreciation for the insightful update on US investments, further extending an invitation to the 6th Annual Indo-Pacific Business Forum. This event, co-hosted by the United States and the Philippines, aims to position the Philippines as a central hub for regional supply chains and high-quality investments.

In recognition of PEZA’s efforts in fostering a conducive investment climate, the US State Department and the US International Trade Administration have lauded the authority for its regulatory transparency, no-red tape policy, and comprehensive one-stop shop services for investors. This acknowledgment underscores the effectiveness of PEZA’s approach in attracting and retaining foreign investment.

The bilateral trade between the Philippines and the United States stood at $36.1 billion in 2022, with Philippine exports accounting for $23.3 billion of this figure.

The ongoing collaboration between PEZA and US Trade and Commercial officials not only fortifies the economic ties between the two countries but also promises to unlock further investment opportunities, driving growth and employment in the Philippine economic zones.