Philippines–Singapore Business Council Forum discusses new growth opportunities in the Philippines for Singapore businesses
- Strong economic growth in the Philippines presents business and investment opportunities in sectors such as infrastructure
- SBF to increase outreach activities in the Philippines this year
4 February 2015 [Singapore] - The Philippines-Singapore Business Council (PSBC) Forum, themed Philippines: An Economic Reawakening, is co-organised by the Singapore Business Federation (SBF) and Makati Business Club (MBC). Supported by International Enterprise Singapore (IE) and Philippine Department of Trade and Industry, and sponsored by Keppel Corporation, the event is graced by Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry Mr Lim Hng Kiang.
The PSBC Forum is part of SBF’s partnership with its Philippine counterpart, MBC, to forge stronger ties and promote bilateral cooperation between the business communities of both countries. The objective of the PSBC Forum is to learn about the business opportunities in the growing Philippine economy.
SBF, as Singapore secretariat for PSBC, aims to raise awareness among Singapore companies on the Philippine market through outreach efforts such as missions and industry roundtables. This year, SBF will be organising more activities beyond the capital of Manila, aimed at increasing Singapore’s trade and investment engagement in the Philippines. These would include business missions, seminars and roundtable dialogues with senior government officials from the Philippines.
Stellar growth in the Philippine economy
This Forum comes against the backdrop of Philippines’ stronger than expected performance in the final quarter of 2014, which has reignited interest in the Philippines market among Singapore companies. Philippines has seen strong economic growth of 6.9% in the last quarter of 20141, supported by robust macroeconomic fundamentals. This is its strongest pace in the last five quarters and the country has climbed 13 notches in the 2015 World Bank International Finance Corporation Doing Business Report.
The Philippines has also improved the ease of doing business through market reforms such as the resolution of insolvency, expanded capacity for obtaining electricity, registering property, cutting the steps needed to start a business and making paying taxes easier through electronic systems. In addition, the Asian Development Bank is expecting Philippines’ GDP to grow by 6.4% this year, with the robust recovery of consumption, investment and exports.
Mr S.S. Teo, Chairman of SBF, said “According to the 2014-2015 SBF National Business Survey conducted on our member companies, Philippines has moved up a notch to be the eighth most popular destination when looking to venture overseas, as companies look for new opportunities for business growth. Philippines’ infrastructure budget has also increased by more than 200% from 2010 to 2015, presenting Singapore companies with the opportunity to lend their expertise in urban planning and infrastructure development. As Singapore’s apex business chamber, SBF will continue to acquaint Singapore companies with the growing business opportunities in the Philippines”.
Mr Tan Soon Kim, Assistant Chief Executive Officer of IE Singapore, said “The rising middle income group and the government’s focus to improve infrastructure for the population will drive opportunities for Singapore companies in the consumer and infrastructure sectors. To help realise these business partnerships, IE Singapore has been engaging the Philippine government agencies and private sector to discuss collaboration areas where we complement each other. We also organise business missions and seminars to help Singapore companies better understand the market environment and find suitable business partners. For example, with our facilitation, Singapore food companies - the Les Amis Group and Brotzeit - have since set up restaurants in Manila last year.”
Other Singapore companies that have entered the market include BreadTalk, Charles & Keith, Keppel Offshore and Marine, SembCorp, Singtel and The Ascott Group.
The participants of this Forum are from various sectors including manufacturing, food services, retail, banking, electronics, telemedia, marine services and distribution.
PSBC is a business-to-business platform launched in October 1994 in Singapore in the presence of the former Philippine President Mr Fidel V. Ramos, and the former Singapore Prime Minister Mr Goh Chok Tong. The council comprises senior business executives from both countries and was established to promote regular cooperation between the business communities of the Philippines and Singapore. The PSBC currently has Mr Loh Chin Hua as the Singapore Co-Chairman and Mr Guillermo Luchangco as the Philippine Co-Chairman.