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CHICAGO (JGL) --Philippine delegation led by Public Works and Highways Secretary Rogelio Singson presented various investment opportunities in infrastructure projects in the country before foreign investors at the 8th Global Infrastructure Leadership Forum in New York, New York recently.

 

“Good governance and anti-corruption reforms produced marked improvements in the infrastructure sector, which has strong convergence with agriculture, tourism, flood mitigation and an integrated transport system,” Secretary Singson said as he cited the 250 percent growth in the infrastructure budget of the Philippines in 2015 from its 2010 level.

 

At the same time, Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. said there is “tremendous opportunities that exist in the Philippines for infrastructure development” after the  successful participation of the Philippines in the Forum.

 

“It was a great learning and networking opportunity for foreign engineering and construction companies, institutional funders with expertise in infrastructure investments and project consultants, as well as for our own delegation,” said Ambassador Cuisia

 

During the two-day forum that was participated in by 300 attendees from all over the world, the Philippine delegation led by Secretary Singson presented various investment opportunities in infrastructure projects in the country.

 

“The Philippines was received very favorably by the forum attendees who also noted that the extent of infrastructure building that the Philippines is embarking on is very impressive,” said Peter Thieman, of Dentons, LLP, one of the sponsors of the forum.

 

Antonio Ferrera, Director General of Acea Dominicana, a ssubsidiary of Italy-based environmental-industrial conglomerate, Acea SpA, expressed admiration for  Manila Water Company’s best practice case for the East Zone Concession.

 

Among the other Philippine projects presented were the Laguna Lakeshore Expressway Dike; the Batangas-Manila Natural Gas Pipeline; and the Mass Transit System Loop Project.

 

Aside from Secretary Singson, the other members of the government delegation were Transportation and Communications Undersecretary Rene Limcaoco and  Public Private Partnership Center Executive Director, Undersecretary Cosette Canilao.

 

The Philippine private sector delegation was composed of Virgilio Rivera, Group Director of Manila Water; Aaron Domingo, Director of Meralco PowerGen Corporation; and Delfin Wenceslao, President of the Philippine Constructors Association and officers Bayani Fernando and Marie Lourdes Fernando of BF Corporation; Levy Espiritu of Datem, Inc.; Oscar Mercado of EEI; and Manuel Louie Ferrer of Megawide.

 

The forum, which was started in 2002, was organized by CG/LA Infrastructure, a Washington-based firm involved in identifying key market opportunities and challenges in the global infrastructure arena.

 

The forum was highlighted by the signing by Ambassador Cuisia and US Commerce Secretary Arun Kumar of a Memorandum of Cooperation between the Philippines and the United States.

 

The agreement establishes a US-Philippines Infrastructure Collaboration Platform between the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and the Department of Commerce that seeks to facilitate US industry participation in Philippine infrastructure projects.

 

“The agreement creates a platform for potential US investors to get notification and information about forthcoming infrastructure projects, which would be useful to enhancing awareness and attracting the attention of American investors in the Philippines,” Ambassador Cuisia said.

 

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CHICAGO (JGL) – The Trade Preferences Extension Act of 2015 (H.R. 1295) signed by President Obama last week will boost access of “Filipino exporters to the U.S. market,” according to Philippine Ambassador to the United States Jose L. Cuisia, Jr.

The new law will reauthorize the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) Program until Dec. 2017 while renewing the African Growth and Opportunity Act and the tariff preference programs for Haiti until Sept. 30, 2025.

The GSP program, which is considered the U.S.’s largest and oldest trade preference facility, was established 41 years ago to promote economic development by eliminating duties on about 5,000 types of products when imported from 122 designated beneficiary developing and least developed countries and territories, including the Philippines. The program however, excludes textile, apparel, and footwear.

In a briefing before the Alliance of GSP Countries held on June 30, Mr. Bill Jackson, Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative (USTR), announced, “The law will restore the GSP program effective 29 July 2015. It will also expand its coverage to include some 20 to 30 specific types of travel goods and will provide for retroactive refund of all duties paid by US importers from the time the Program lapsed on 31 July 2013.”

In welcoming the announcement, Ambassador Cuisia said, “The renewal of the GSP Program gives more Filipino exporters access to the U.S. market, which in turn, would create jobs at home, increase competitiveness of Philippine companies and improve the country’s overall trade position.”

 

WHAT THIS MEANS TO THE PHILIPPINES

 

The GSP program is a tool that helps an eligible country to expand its exports to the U.S. It directly benefits micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and is a major employment generator for many export–oriented agribusinesses and community based industries in the various regions of the Philippines.  

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Senior Trade Representative and Philippine Embassy Commercial Counselor Maria Roseni M. Alvero explained, “The reinstatement of the program means that the Philippines could recoup its lost export share directly caused by program’s expiry in 2013. More importantly, it is also an essential incentive for investors, both foreign and local, as it boosts the competitiveness of products produced in the Philippines in the US market.”

“For instance, with the inclusion of travel goods in the program with such brands as Coach and Michael Kors which are made in the Philippines, we will be able to compete more aggressively with China, which currently dominates the US market for the products, ” Alvero cited as an example.

As recommendation, former USTR Official and Consultant of the Alliance for GSP Countries Marideth Sandler stated, “Exporters are encouraged to touch base with their U.S. importers so that past and present relationships are maintained, especially under this new encouraging environment for exports.”
 

For her part, Commercial Counselor Alvero strongly suggested, “It is important that DTI and relevant agencies thereof and industry associations should boost training and seminars on GSP and GSP availment, especially in the regions and where the program can have the most impact which is to the MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises) sector of the country.” (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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