Board of Investments (BOI) Managing Head Dr. Ceferino Rodolfo welcomed a Korean delegation of business men in the country recently (February 22-24, 2016). Ambassador Kim Young -Sun, Secretary-General of the Asean Korea Centre (AKC) led a delegation of 14 Korean companies keen on investing on infrastructure and energy projects in the Philippines.

“The Philippine economy is ripe for foreign investments,” said Rodolfo. He said that now is the best time for foreign investors to invest in the Philippines as the country continues to experience growth and stability.

Korean investors keen on infrastructure, energy projects in PHIn photo: Philippine and Korean government officials led by DTI Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo (front row, fifth from left), ASEAN-Korea Centre Secretary General Kim Young-Sun (front row, sixth from left), and Minister and Consul General, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Korean Embassy to the Philippines Honorable Won-Jik Kwon (front row, fourth from left), and, with participants of the Philippines-Korea Investment Forum.

According to Undersecretary Rodolfo, the government’s expenditure on infrastructure contributes significantly to economic growth. Philippine infrastructure spending has increased from 1.8 percent of GDP in 2010 to 4.1 percent of GDP in 2015. “The upward trend of GDP growth presents tremendous opportunities for further investments in infrastructure,” he said.

Philippine gross domestic product (GDP) has been experiencing a 6.2 percent growth rate in the past five years, the fastest since 1970s. This year, the government is targeting GDP growth between 6 to 7 percent.

“This is one of the means to maximize the gains from the AEC. With stable macroeconomic fundamentals, expanded market access, and advances in infrastructure and human capital development, we gain leverage to position the Philippines as a manufacturing hub to service the ASEAN market,” Rodolfo said. He added that the ASEAN-Korea Free Trade Agreement (AKFTA) facilitates Korean investments in ASEAN member countries.

The AEC, formally established last 31 December 2015, aims to establish a single market and production base with free movement of goods, services and investments across the ten ASEAN member countries. ASEAN is one of the fastest growing regions with a combined population of 600 million people and a GDP of more than $6.2 trillion.

Honorable Won-Jik Kwon, Minister and Consul General, Deputy Chief of Mission of the Korean Embassy to the Philippines, expressed appreciation to the Korean delegates’ decision to choose the Philippines for its investment mission saying the country is a strategic gateway to an integrated ASEAN market.

Meanwhile, Secretary General Young-Sun said the Philippines emerged as one of the most attractive investment destinations in the infrastructure and energy sectors. He said that the volume of investments in these sectors more than doubled from 18 million USD in 2013 to 40 million USD in 2014. Investments in infrastructure and energy compose some 40 percent of Korea’s total investment in the Philippines.

Korea is the fifth largest investor of the Philippines with interests in manufacturing, shipbuilding, retail, gaming and software development, tourism, infrastructure, agriculture, agribusiness, energy, and banking and finance.

During their visit to the Philippines, the Korean delegation conducted site visits to RASLAG Photovoltaic (PV) Power Plant, NAIA Expressway, and the Daang Hari Expressway.