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PHL seeking to attract US manufacturing locators amid China trade tensions

THE Philippine special envoy to the US is planning a public-private initiative to invite US companies to relocate to the Philippines from China.

The initiative will target manufacturing and assembly, logistics, and green energy companies.

“More than raising the level of discourse about this investment opportunity for our country, we will endeavor to chart an efficient roadmap for US companies seeking to do business in the country as guided by the Ease of Doing Business Act,” Special Envoy Jose E.B. Antonio said in a statement Tuesday.

The project will start with virtual conferences to discuss ease of doing business in the country, including reforms to business permit processing, the automation of transactions, and anti-corruption policies.

“We have a young and growing population, hard-working and English-speaking people, relatively low wages and cost of living, and a continuously growing infrastructure,” Mr. Antonio said.

“We will have a more compelling story to tell investors and relocating US firms if we can ensure a smooth and efficient entry and operating process for them.”

The Philippines has been touted as a beneficiary of the relocation of firms from China due to US-China trade tensions, but investors have thus far preferred locations like Vietnam and Thailand.

Organizations supporting the initiative include the US-Philippines Society, American Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines, the Semiconductor and Electronics Industry of the Philippines, Inc., Management Association of the Philippines, and the Harvard Business School Club of the Philippines.

The Trade and Energy departments and the Philippine Economic Zone Authority represent the public sector.

Mr. Antonio is the chairman of the Century Properties Group. — Jenina P. Ibañez

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