The Committee meeting was well attended; Senator Gordon joined Zubiri; from the DTI, Secretary Lopez, USec. Terrado and USec. Rodolfo participated. The NCC was represented by Bill Luz. Many of the important business organizations attended, including ECCP.
All participants highlighted opportunities and concerns with regard to trade, commerce and entrepreneurship, and provided recommendations. Position papers covering the various points raised and the laws to be amended (including the Retail Trade Act) were welcomed. Zubiri reiterated that he wants business-friendly legislation.
We discussed the needed tax reform; DOF Sec. Dominguez mentioned the reduction to 25% corporate income tax again. We debated the hot item ’contractualization’ and outlined that a more flexible Labor Code is needed to make ’hire and fire’ easier. Zubiri suggested to discuss that with Senator Villanueva who is heading the Labor Committee.
All participants praised the leadership of PEZA (vertical and horizontal zones) and the important role this organization plays in attracting and keeping investors. Another item highlighted was the need to keep investment incentives, given the higher cost of doing business in the Philippines.
ECCP additionally explained the EPBN project, highlighted the GSP+ program offered by the EU to the Philippines, expressed hope that the FTA negotiations with the EU will be concluded fast, and outlined the need for a Single Window to be implemented by Customs, which would connect all agencies that are involved in trade.