German firms set their sights to flow investments to the Philippines

(Left photo) Philippine Ambassador to Germany Maria Cleofe Natividad delivers the welcome remarks at the Philippine business forum in Berlin. (Right photo) PEZA Director General Lilia de Lima assures German investors that the government of President Aquino is committed to promoting the Philippines as an investment friendly country.

German firms set their sights on the Philippines

An information session on the Philippines as a business location for German enterprises took place at the PricewaterhouseCoopers Conference Center in Potsdamer Platz, Berlin on September 28.

The economic event was co-sponsored by the Philippine Embassy in Berlin, the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), the ZukunftsAgentur Brandenburg, PricewaterhouseCoopers AG, the media publication ASEAN Today and the German Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI).

Thirty-eight (38) German business entrepreneurs, traders, consultants and representatives from government institutions listened to presentations on the Philippines as a prime business and investment location in Asia.

Philippine Ambassador to Germany Maria Cleofe Natividad noted in her welcome remarks that the Philippines to date is one of the strongest-performing economies in Asia, and that the country's growth forecast is between five to six percent in 2012.

PEZA Director General Dr. Lilia de Lima delivered the key note presentation on opportunities for foreign investors in Philippine economic zones. Dr. de Lima also gave a presentation in Stuttgart on September 27 at an investment forum sponsored by GPCCI and Wirtschaftsrat Deutschland.

In her presentation, Dr. de Lima noted that there are currently 281 companies operating in PEZA that are from European Union (EU) member countries. Thirty-six (36) of these firms are German companies that specialize in the areas of air transport, electronics, garments and manufacturing.

The guests also heard the presentations of Mr. Jose Antonio Buencamino, Commercial Counselor of the Philippine Embassy in Berlin, who provided an overview of the Philippine business climate and investment opportunities, as well as Mr. Alexander Lehnen, Senior Manager of PricewaterhouseCoopers AG, who delivered a presentation on tax structuring of German investments in the Philippines.

Two German businessmen based in the Philippines and active officials of the GPCCI - Lufthansa Technik Philippines President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Gerald Frielinghaus and CS Garments President and CEO Claus Sudhoff - also shared their extensive experiences in the country and why they have chosen the Philippines for their operations.

As the Philippines receives greater attention from foreign investors, Director General De Lima and Ambassador Natividad agreed that this is not the time to be absent from the scene, referring to the upcoming closure of the Department of Trade and Industry's representation in Berlin.

Rating agencies such as Standard & Poor, Fitch and global financial institutions such as Credit Suisse, Bank of America-Merrill Lynch and Deutsche Bank gave positive growth forecasts for the Philippines, at a time when most economies in Europe and Asia face slower growth prospects. It is believed that once the Fraport issue is resolved, the floodgates of heightened investment flows from Germany will literally be opened and generate more jobs and export earnings for the country in the process.

(www.dfa.gov.ph)

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