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Bilateral Trade, Investment, and a “View from Washington”

Makati City, Philippines – A centerpiece of the program was the February 20 Business Forum, which included briefings by Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Lopez, Department of Budget and Management Secretary Diokno and Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Managing Director Dakila. Officials projected continued GDP annual growth rates nearing seven percent and assured continuation of sound macro-economic policies. The budget presentation highlighted priorities in infrastructure improvements, the administration’s signature economic initiative.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno and BSP Managing Director Francisco Dakila, Jr. with leaders of the US-Philippines Society, Makati Business Club and AmCham of the Philippines, February 20, 2018, Makati City, Philippines

The Business Forum, organized with the Philippines-United States Business Council, Makati Business Club and American Chamber of Commerce of the Philipines, served as a platform for presentations by attorneys Leo Canseco (USPS Director) and SGV’s Jose Luis Ferrer on tax reform legislation in both countries, and what that means for business and investment opportunities.

US-Philippines Society Co-chair John D. Negroponte presents a “View from Washington” February 20, 2018, Makati City.

Amb Negroponte presented a “View from Washington” that offered an analysis of the Trump administration’s economic, foreign and security policies and priorities, the impact on growth, investment and trade, steps toward reaching agreement on a possible FTA, and areas for bilateral cooperation on transnational issues.

Private Sector Panel with USPHS Co-chair Manuel V. Pangilinan and MBC Vice Chairman Roberto de Ocampo and moderated by former Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr., February 20, 2018, Makati City, Philippines

A blue ribbon panel discussion led by former Ambassador Jose L. Cuisia, Jr. and including Co-chair Manuel V. Pangilinan and former Finance Secretary Roberto de Ocampo provided directors with a candid and insightful private sector perspective on the Philippine economy and areas for US-Philippine cooperation.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez meets with US-Philippines Society Directors, February 19, 2018, Makati City, Philippines

NEDA and Socio-Economic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia presents updates on administration’s economic agenda, February 19, 2018, Makati City, Philippines.

In separate meetings with current Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez and NEDA Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia, directors took the opportunity to raise business concerns, including taxation on companies in economic zones. The secretaries provided comprehensive briefings on administration policies aimed at reducing poverty to 14 percent by 2022, keeping inflation at “modest” levels, lowering debt, increasing tourism, sustaining strong GDP growth, and promoting infrastructure investment and tax reform.

Secretary Dominguez cited opportunities for the U.S. in the next level of services, marketing, robotics and Big Data. Trade and investment statistics showed that the U.S. lags behind many of the Philippines’ Asian partners, including within ASEAN.

L-R: US-Philippines Society Director Charles Taylor (Chevron Indonesia), U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim and Secretary Carlos Dominguez

Director Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala added perspectives from the Philippine private sector, pointing to areas of strength in the Philippine economy.

US-Philippines Society Director Jaime Augusto Zobel de Ayala, February 19, 2018, Makati City, Philippines

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