TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – In an effort to encourage the Philippines to consider economic reforms to attract more foreign investment, Alfred Wang, an economic counselor at the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office in the Philippines, has stated that Vietnam, Indonesia, and Thailand are more attractive markets for Taiwanese investors.
According to the counselor, investors find regulations in the Philippines to be too “burdensome,” making markets in Vietnam and other Southeast Asian nations far more competitive.
Wang says that the Taiwanese government is doing what it can to attract investment in the Philippines as part of the Tsai administration’s New Southbound Policy.
Wang notes that the country possesses a young, robust labor force with a high level of English competency. However, the minimum wage in the Philippines remains too high for many potential investors when compared to other regional economies.
The Business Mirror reports that in 2018, Taiwanese investment in the Philippines dropped to 4.2 billion pesos (US$81 million), down 61 percent from the previous year’s total investment of 10.83 billion pesos (US$210 million).
In addition to wages, Wang noted several other factors that contributed to the decline of investment, including “uncertainties” caused by the Philippines' proposed tax incentives for businesses operating in specially designated economic zones.
Despite the decrease in investment and new business ventures over the past year, Wang sought to assure the Philippines that no Taiwanese businesses already in the country are planning to leave.
Wang called on the Philippine government and business community to take advantage of Taiwan’s aggressive pursuit of cooperative arrangements and new business opportunities in line with the New Southbound Policy.