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Philippines seeking more investment from Taiwan
Central News Agency
2014-03-25 09:21 PM
Taipei, March 25 (CNA) The Philippines is seeking more investment from Taiwanese companies in an effort to advance bilateral trade relations, a visiting official said in Taipei Tuesday. At a seminar on investing in the Philippines, Ponciano C. Manalo Jr., undersecretary of the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry, gave a presentation on the investment environment and business opportunities in the Southeast Asian country. The Philippines has stable economic growth, steady export growth, an efficient revenue collection mechanism and dynamic people, he told nearly 100 representatives of some 75 Taiwanese companies who attended the seminar. Among the advantages of investing in the Philippines, he touted robust infrastructure, a strategic location with easy access to other Asian countries, and tax benefits. The Philippines is looking at Taiwan becoming a major regional supply chain source in industries such as electronics manufacturing, Manalo told CNA in an interview after the seminar. In an effort to attract foreign investors, "we provide income tax holidays for investors during the first six years of operation in the Philippines for export-oriented companies," said Benedict Uy, a Philippine trade official at the Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) in Taipei, which organized the seminar. Although the Philippines does not grant visa-free treatment for Taiwanese nationals, it is trying to make it "as easy as possible" for Taiwanese businessmen to obtain visas for the country, Uy said. Freedom of travel is a "good precursor for business practices," said Manalo, who is on a five-day visit to Taiwan that will wrap up March 27. Asked about the Philippines' attitude toward Taiwan's bid to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a proposed trade bloc, Manalo said that "we're very much aware of that intention." "We're not against it," he said, when asked if the Philippines supports Taiwan's interest in the Asia-Pacific trade agreement. The RCEP is being negotiated by all 10 members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, along with China, India, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand. During his visit to Taiwan, Manalo is also scheduled to visit the central county of Nantou to see first-hand the results of the "one town, one product" project there and learn from Taiwan's experience of developing small and medium-sized enterprises. The project is designed to assist the growth of local cultural industries.

(By Elaine Hou)

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