By Justine Irish D. Tabile, Reporter
THE German Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI) said it is looks forward to more deregulation, which will help make the Philippines more attractive to foreign direct investment (FDI) and lower the cost of doing business.
“Transportation costs in general are higher here… be it in airports, seaports, and roads,” GPCCI President Stefan Schmitz said on the sidelines of Mabuhay Germany 2023 briefing, citing the need to make all forms of transport more efficient.
Mr. Schmitz said inefficiencies exact a penalty on the economy, “so, (we are) happy to see that there are necessary investments to improve infrastructure right now,” but added that the efficiencies will come only after some time.
“I think what we want to see is further deregulation … We have seen a good start (but) we have seen (the reforms being) watered down,” he said.
He said that protectionism is normal, but “we’ve seen also in countries that have (shunned protectionism) that deregulation can be an answer. If you allow goods and investment to flow freely, (regardless of) nationality, it will help to alleviate poverty,” he added.
GPCCI Executive Director Christopher Zimmer said that the recent round of liberalizations is definitely bringing more businesses to the Philippines.
“What we have to think about now is how we are going to make this work, because the (time it takes for a law to be made to work as intended) is long. This needs transparency and we are trying to help our members, as well as the Philippine side, to make this work. This is one of our focuses in the future,” Mr. Zimmer said.
Mr. Schmitz said that he expects trade between the Philippines and Germany to beat last year’s total as both countries recover from the pandemic.
“I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t be surpassing it because we’re back after the (pandemic). There were supply chain problems with China, essentially, but I do think we should be surpassing (previous trade levels). That’s my gut feeling,” Mr. Schmitz said.
In 2022, Germany was the Philippines’ top trading partner in the European Union with total trade valued at $4.7 billion.
Mr. Schmitz said investment is expected in renewables, aviation, logistics, trading and manufacturing.
“The larger ones are certainly in aviation and renewable energy, but we also know a lot of small- and medium-sized companies in logistics, trading and manufacturing. We have major investments in manufacturing that are car-related,” he said.
This year, German representatives from the renewable energy, infrastructure, government and public administration, education, information technology, business consulting and professional services, finance, advertising and marketing, and hospitality industries will attend the Mabuhay Germany trade show on Nov. 16-18 at the World Trade Center.