The Filipino workforce is one of the most compelling advantages the Philippines has over any other Asian country. With higher education priority, the literacy rate in the country is 94.6% — among the highest. English is taught in all schools, making the Philippines the world’s third largest English-speaking country. Every year, there are some 350,000 graduates enriching the professional pool.

ONE OF THE WORLD’S FASTEST GROWING ECONOMIES

The Philippines, already one of the world’s fastest-expanding economies, is being buoyed by strong domestic demand and President Rodrigo Duterte’s planned spending on roads, railways and ports. The International Monetary Fund sees the Southeast Asian nation’s economy growing about 6.8 percent over the medium term.

The Philippines’ economy grew faster than 6 percent for an eighth consecutive quarter, underscoring the nation’s resilience as domestic and global challenges mount.  Gross domestic product increased 6.5 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, the Philippine Statistics Authority said in Manila Thursday, after expanding 6.4 percent in the first quarter.

STRATEGIC LOCATION

The Philippines is located right in the heart of Asia – today the fastest growing region. It is located within four hours flying time from major capitals of the region. Sited at the crossroads of the eastern and western business, it is a critical entry point to over 500 million people in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) market and a gateway of international shipping and air lanes suited for European and American businesses.

LIFESTYLE

Discover the best of sun, sea, sand and style in the tropical setting teeming with the best of western amenities. The Philippines is second home to expatriates who enjoy the company of the warmest people in the region, the country’s openness to varied cultures, and a decidedly global outlook. Expats enjoy accessible and affordable luxuries – business centers, housing, schools, hospitals, shopping malls, hotels and restaurants, beach resorts, and recreation centers.

ABUNDANT RESOURCES

An archipelago like the Philippines offers diverse natural resources, from land to marine to mineral resources. It is also the biggest copper producer in Southeast Asia and among the top ten producers of gold in the world. It is also home to 2,145 fish species, four times more than those found in the Bahamas. The 7,100 islands boast of beautiful beaches and breathtaking sceneries that offer soothing leisure and relaxation spots for vacationers and tourists.

REASONABLE COST OF DOING BUSINESS

Wages are typically less than a fifth of that in the United States. Local communication, electricity, and housing costs are also 50% lower compared to the US rates. Foreign companies that are now outsourcing programming and business processes to the Philippines estimate 30%-40% business cost savings, 15%-30% call center services and application systems, and 35%-50% software development.

LIBERALIZED BUSINESS FRIENDY ECONOMY

An open economy, like the Philippines, allows 100% foreign ownership in almost all sectors and supports a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) investment scheme that other Asian countries emulate. Government corporations are being privatized and the banking, insurance, shipping telecommunications, and power industries have been deregulated. Incentive packages include the corporate income tax, reduced to a current 32%, with companies in the Special Economic Zones (ecozones) subject to only 5% overall tax rates. Multinationals looking for regional headquarters are entitled to incentives such as tax exemptions and tax and duty-free importation of specific equipment and materials.

UNLIMITED BUSINESS POSSIBILITIES

Asian economies integrate within the vast framework of the ASEAN Free Trade Agreement (AFTA) and the single market ASEAN ECONOMIC COMMUNITY (AEC), the Philippines is the natural and most strategic location for firms that want access to the large ASEAN market and its vast trade opportunities. The Philippines has enhanced and primed up various areas for investors and offers a dynamic consumer market accustomed to an array of product choices created by a competitive domestic economy.

​BUILD BUILD BUILD PROGRAM FUELLING UNPARALLELED GROWTH

A well-developed communication, transportation, business, and economic infrastructure development program continues to improve links between the three major islands — Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao — and distinguishes the Philippine economy. Highly accessible by air, water, and cyberspace, liberalization of inter-island shipping and domestic aviation further sparked improved facilities and services. The container terminals are suited to handle cargo traffic at the highest levels of efficiency.

Despite the global economic challenges, the Philippines remains bullish as far as creating an ideal climate for both existing and potential investors. Part of the overall effort to achieve this goal is to provide relevant and updated information to local and foreign businessmen.

The Board of Investments (BOI), the line agency involved in marketing and investment promotion, came up with this Primer to guide prospective investors in making sound investment decisions.

The Primer includes the country’s laws, rules and regulations and policies that govern the procedural requirements that should be followed. This Primer is intended to provide a better understanding of the Philippine investments regime and thereby entice more businessmen to invest in the country’s priority investment areas.

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