European companies put PH investment plans on hold

February 23, 2017 News

European Union Ambassador and head of delegation Franz Jessen speaks on strengthening trade relations between the Philippines, the European Union and the Asean during the AseanEU BUSINESS SUMMIT press briefing held at the Makati ShangriLa. Along with him are (from left): Asean Business Advisory Council Chairman Joey Conception, EUAsean Business Council Executive Director Chris Humphrey and European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines Executive Director Florian Gottein.

EUROPEAN companies are rediverting and holding off plans to expand investments in the Philippines, an official said on Wednesday, citing political concerns, but did not name the companies.

One of the two companies received a directive from its headquarters in Europe to shelve the plan to double its investments in the Philippines, Florian Gottein, executive director of European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) said during the press launch in Makati City of the AseanEuropean Union (EU) Business Summit.

The other company, which also wanted to double its investments in the country, decided to expand its operations in Vietnam, rather than expanding in the Philippines," Gottein added. The ECCP said it has done a bit of research on the matter and found that several thousand jobs would be affected.

Gotttein said it can be attributed basically to political uncertainty, because it is something that is difficult to assess when it comes to corporate planning, Gottein noted. The chamber is now wording with the government regarding its concerns about the Philippines.

"As a chamber, we're trying to work closely together with the economic team of the administration, with Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, and also with the Senate and the House," Gottein said.

"We're really trying to bring across our concerns, discussing together how we can align our interest to strengthen the Philippines," he said. However, Gottein claimed that more and more companies are now approaching the chamber and asking, "What's happening there?"

In response, the chamber is telling those companies that "there are a lot of opportunities here in the country, you just have to follow some steps," he said. During the summit, European Union Ambassador Franz Jesse said that EU has started negotiating for free trade agreement (FTA) with Asean.

"Establishing a regiontoregion free trade area will act as a powerful catalyst for even , mutually beneficial economic relationships. This is why our ministers will continue discussing the way forward when they meet next month here in Manila," Jessen said.