ECCT visit to the Philippines

13 April, 2023

Florian Gottein, ECCP Executive Director (6th from right)  and co-chairs from ECCP committees together with the ECCT delegation

A five member ECCT delegation led by ECCT Chairman Giuseppe Izzo and CEO Freddie Höglund took a trip to the Philippines where they held a series of meetings with counterparts from the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP), business leaders and business organisations. During the trip, delegates from both chambers exchanged information on their respective chambers’ advocacy issues, activities and the business climate in their respective countries. The visit was part of the ECCT’s ongoing interactions with other European chambers in the region. Regional trips are usually held once a year, although this was the first trip in three years since no trips were arranged in 2020 and 2021 due to the global coronavirus pandemic. All of the accommodation, travel and meetings were kindly arranged by the ECCP secretariat, who also accompanied the ECCT delegation throughout the trip.  Read the full event report.

Lars Wittig, ECCP President giving a briefing about the ECCP and doing business in the Philippines

The ECCT delegation held an extensive exchange and dinner with members of the ECCP board of directors and a series of meetings with the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines, the Delegation of the EU to the Philippines, the Semiconductor and Electronics Industries in the Philippines Foundation (SEIPI), the Philippine Exporters Confederation (PHILEXPORT) and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce (PCCI). On the second day of the trip, the delegation took part in a site visit to the facilities of Lufthansa Technik Philippines, which conducts maintenance repair and operations procurement (MRO) for commercial aircraft.

The Philippines has one of the world’s fastest growing economies with a young and growing population. Despite the pandemic, GDP growth hit 5.7% in 2021 and 7.6% in 2022. While the business environment remains challenging, the situation has improved with recent reforms. The most significant was the lifting of foreign ownership restrictions to allow up to 100% foreign ownership of companies in the telecom, shipping, renewable energy, airport and other sectors. In addition, an Anti Red Tape Authority, which allows organisations or companies to raise concerns about administrative problems, has been established while the corporate income tax rate was reduced from 30% to 25%.

Meeting with the Philippine Exporters Confederation (PHILEXPORT) and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce (PCCI)

While there remain challenges to doing business in the Philippines, the advantages of investing in the country include an English-speaking workforce and preferential tariffs and customs duties for goods manufactured in the Philippines granted under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP, a scheme which allows products originating in certain developing countries preferential access to the markets of the EU).

The top end of the higher education system (universities and technical colleges) in the Philippines is regarded as quite good, and given the fact that instruction is in English, graduates from the best universities and technical colleges are sought after and can often find jobs overseas. In summary, there are great business opportunities in the Philippines for those willing to take some risks.

At the meeting with the Delegation of the EU to the Philippines with Philipp Dupuis (3rd from left), Minister Counsellor, Head of the Economic and Trade Section

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