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PEZA not threatened by inward-looking economic policies of US; investment inflows to sustain growth

PEZA not threatened by inward-looking economic policies of US; investment inflows to sustain growth
By Kris M. Crismundo

MANILA (Philippines News Agency) — The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) remains optimistic that the country will sustain high level of investment inflows despite the inward-looking economic policies of the United States under the new administration.

PEZA Director General Charito Plaza, in an interview, said that investment growth in PEZA would not be threatened amid US President Donald Trump’s inward-looking economic plans for his country such as not joining any massive trade deal such as Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) Agreement and slapping higher penalties to US companies that have moved jobs overseas.

Plaza added that despite some US companies withholding their investment plans since US election period, the Philippines had alternative sources of investments such as the Middle East, China, Russia, and South Korea, among others.

Japan has also strengthened its confidence to invest in the Philippines, the PEZA chief said.

Earlier, Plaza attributed the decline in investment pledges in PEZA last year to uncertainties of US investors following the statements of then presidential candidate Trump to take back American firms to its country and the harsh statements of President Rodrigo Duterte against US.

Investment pledges in PEZA in 2016 dropped by 26 percent to Php 218 billion from Php 295 billion commitments in 2015.

Moreover, Trump has made one of his campaign promises come true — pulling out US from the TPP deal — by signing an executive order on Monday.

Despite Trump’s inward-looking economic policies, Plaza stressed PEZA would continue to strengthen its investment promotions in other markets to fill any gaps as US companies had uncertainties in their country’s economic policies.

US is the second largest source of foreign investments in PEZA, next to Japan.

Plaza, however, noted that investments from US companies only share 12 percent in PEZA. Hence, even with the slowdown in investment pledges from US, Plaza expects to hit its target investment commitments this year.

For this year, the PEZA chief eyes to increase investment pledges by three to four times from last year’s figure. (PNA)

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