It’s More Fun in the Philippines

March 26, 2012

This story is part of an ongoing series highlighting the information available to participants in the 2012 Asia Pacific Business Outlook (APBO)

Patrick Wall is Commercial Counselor in the U.S. Embassy in Manila.

This is a great time to look at export opportunities in the Philippines. The Philippines is a market where American products and services are well known and held in high regard, owing to the very close relationship between the U.S. and the Philippines over the past 100 years. U.S. business engagement in the Philippines is longstanding, positive and growing, and American firms play a major role in the economy.

The Philippines is an archipelago of 7,107 islands, with 92 million inhabitants, and the world’s fourth largest English-speaking nation, with the 14th largest labor force in the world.  The U.S. and the Philippines have US$16.8B in two-way merchandise trade in 2011, and relatively balanced trade flows. The Philippines is ranked as the United States’ 33rd export partner and the 38th import partner.

The U.S. sees the Philippines as a long term business partner. U.S. foreign investment in the Philippines reached was roughly $7 billion by the end of 2011. The U.S. remains the second largest investment partner in the Philippines, accounting for about one-fourth of the country’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) stock.  U.S. businesses are present in a wide spectrum of sectors and industries.

In his first 18 months in office, President Aquino’s good governance program has resulted in the filing of corruption cases against several high-profile public officials.  The “2012-2016 Good Governance and Anti-Corruption Cluster Plan,” further identifies specific measures to curb corruption through greater transparency and accountability in government transactions.  Efforts to reign in corruption have, in general, improved public perception though achieving successful prosecutions remains to be a serious challenge to the Aquino administration.

For the fifth consecutive year, the promising market sectors in the Philippines for U.S. companies are information technology, telecommunication, medical, electric power, and water resources, respectively. These sectors are further intertwined in the current Philippine government’s Public-Private Partnership (PPP) program targeting those projects of priority to the government.  The Government of the Philippines actively seeks foreign investment to promote economic development of these PPP projects.

U.S. investors in the Philippines have been especially successful in the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) sector.  The top 10 American BPO firms operate in the Philippines.  By the end of 2011, the BPO sector of the economy had created 630,000 jobs in the Philippines.  Did you know that in 2011 the Philippines became the number one offshore site for “voice” BPO employment, taking the mantle from India?

Why it’s more fun the Philippines?   The Philippines has much to offer to American exporters:

  • The Economy – a strong comeback with opportunities in many hot sectors
  • The Location – within four hours of major asian capitals
  • The People – warm, friendly and English-speaking

For more information on doing business in the Philippines, please contact us http://export.gov/philippines/

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