MANILA, April 24, 2014 -- With its recent bid to boost Philippine economic relations with Taiwan, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) expects more business opportunities as well as inbound trade and investment missions from Taiwan this year.

“With its strong economic performance, flourishing business opportunities, and proximity, the Philippines is in a firm position to encourage Taiwan in closely considering our country as their gateway or hub for the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) market,” DTI Undersecretary Ponciano C. Manalo Jr. said in a statement.

Manalo also noted that Taiwan, which is considered as a major supply chain source of manufacturing industries in the region, is currently one of the Philippine's top trading partner and investment sources.

Manalo visited Taiwan to push for a number of Philippine trade and investment promotion opportunities. The visit ran from March 23 to 27, 2014.

During his four-day visit, Manalo had business meetings with potential investors, presented during the seminar on investing in the Philippines, attended bilateral meetings with his counterpart trade and investment promotion agencies in Taiwan, and learned from Taiwan’s experience on small and medium enterprise (SME) development.

Manalo engaged in one-on-one meetings with big Taiwanese companies that have expressed keen interest in investing in the Philippines. Three of these companies are major players in the global electronics supply chain. Further meetings involved investors interested in software park development, electric vehicle production, and aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) services.

Taipei1 Picture taken during one of the business meetings of UPCM with a Taiwanese electronics company. (from Left) Mr. Benedict M. Uy Director of Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Taipei, Undersecretary Ponciano Manalo Jr. of DTI Trade and Investment Promotions Group, Mr. Simon Shen Chief Executive Officer of Kinpo Group, Mr. Antonio I. Basilio Resident Representative, Ms. Althea Antonio Chief-of-Staff of DTI-OUTIPG.

As the main speaker during the seminar on investing in the Philippines, Manalo highlighted several indicators of a growing Philippine economy such as stable and resilient economic growth bringing last year’s gross domestic product (GDP) to 7.2 percent and headline inflation at 3 percent, continuous inflow of overseas Filipino workers remittances, steady export growth and investment flows, robust domestic financial sector, efficient revenue collection, dynamic manpower, strengthened governance and anti-corruption measures, and investment grade status from three international credit rating agencies, Fitch, Standard and Poor’s, and Moody’s.

taipei2 Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO) Resident Representative Antonio Basilio giving the welcome remarks on the Investing in the Philippines Seminar organized by the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Taipei in partnership with MECO, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Photonics Industry Association of Taiwan, and Industrial Technology Research Institute. taipei3 Investing in the Philippines Seminar held on March 25, 2014 at the Far Eastern Shangri-La Hotel in Taipei, Taiwan. Front row, VIP table (from left): Ms. Karen Ma of Industrial Technology Research Institute, Mr. George Lien CEO of TECO Electric Vehicles, Ms. Althea Antonio Chief-of-Staff of OUTIPG, Undersecretary Ponciano Manalo Jr. of Philippine Department of Trade and Industry, and Mr. Yang Hung Deputy Director General of Taiwan Ministry of Economic Affairs – Investment Services.

Manalo also mentioned the advantages of investing in the country such as the strategic business location to the ASEAN market, rich talent pool, first-class lifestyle, and attractive investment incentives.

About 100 participants mostly coming from the electronics industry, engaged particularly in photonics (light emitting diode (LED) applications, and imaging devices) and photovoltaic and green technology (electric vehicles and solar energy), attended the seminar. The seminar was organized by the Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) in Taipei, Manila Economic and Cultural Office (MECO), Photonics Industry and Technology Development Association (PIDA), and the Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) in Taiwan.

Most of the queries from attendees were on incentives provided by the Philippines for electric vehicle production and renewable energy opportunities, as well as guidelines and support mechanisms on setting-up offices in the Philippines.

taipei4 Q&A portion of the seminar. On stage (from left): Ms. Benedict M. Uy Director of Commercial Affairs at the Manila Economic and Cultural Office, Undersecretary Ponciano Manalo Jr. of DTI (main speaker), Mr. George Lien of TECO Group (experience in PHL sharing), and Ms. Karen Ma of ITRI (market research of ITRI on PHL).

Currently, the investment opportunities in the Philippines for Taiwan include LED module packaging assembly, printer and related equipment, automotive manufacturing (including electronic auto parts), shipbuilding and yacht-building, agribusiness and aquaculture, and information and communication technology (ICT).

To further Philippine economic relations with Taiwan, Manalo also met with his counterparts at the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) and Ministry of Economic Affairs (MoEA). The discussions during their meeting mainly focused on various projects and activities for possible cooperation on trade and investment promotion.

taipei5 DTI Undersecretary Manalo Jr. with Mr. Peter Huang, President of Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA) taipei6 Dinner hosted by Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs MOEA. (From left) Ms. Althea Antonio, Executive Director Myrna Sunico of Design Center of the Philippines, Provincial Director Ms. Nelia Navaro of STI-Cebu, UPCM, Vice Minister Cho Shih-Chao of MOEA, Resident Representative Antonio Basilio, Mr. Benedict Uy, and Asst. Director Marievic Bonoan of Bureau of Domestic Trade. taipei7 Picture taken during the visit on Taiwan Design Center. (Center) Mr. Oliver Lin Vice-CEO of Taiwan Design Center and Undersecretary Manalo.

Manalo also met with Import Export Association of Taipei (IEAT) Chairman John Huang to discuss projects such as organizing a trade mission to the Philippines this year. The IEAT is the biggest trade association in Taiwan.

“With these anticipated projects and activities, we expect not only to attract more investments to the Philippines but also promote the country’s globally-competitive products such as garments, fresh and processed food, footwear, personal and beauty products, automotive parts and accessories, and wood and metal furniture to Taiwan,” Manalo said.

Last year, Taiwan ranked as the Philippines’ 6th largest trading partner, 9th as export market, and 4th import source.

With the task to give a boost to the one town, one product (OTOP) stores in the Philippines, Manalo also led DTI officers to observe Taiwan's experience in SME development, particularly its OTOP program.

Manalo noted that SMEs in Taiwan account for more than 97 percent of their businesses, and development programs for these SMEs are one of the successful models wherein the Philippines can actually gather valuable insights and lessons. (DTI)

taipei8 Picture taken during the visit to the Corporate Synergy Development Center (CSD) – Taiwan’s main agency for implementing SME development projects such as the Taiwan OTOP Program. (Center) Mr. Su Chin-Ho, President of CSD and Undersecretary Ponciano Manalo Jr. with the Philippine delegation from various offices in DTI that assist in the Philippine MSME and OTOP program.