$100 billion investments seen to flow into the Philippines in 5-10 years – US envoy

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said during an official visit to Manila last March for the trade and investment mission that the US aims to be the economic partner of choice in the Indo-Pacific.

Gabriel Pabico Lalu

Gabriel Pabico Lalu

Philippine Daily Inquirer


As much as $100 billion investment can flow into the Philippines soon, says Philippine Ambassador to the United States (US) Jose Manuel Romualdez. PHOTO: PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER

April 11, 2024

MANILA – Investments of around $100 billion can flow into the Philippines in the next five to 10 years, Philippine Ambassador to the United States (US) Jose Manuel Romualdez said on Wednesday (Eastern time).

In a press briefing at the Philippine Embassy here—a day before the first-ever trilateral summit between the Philippines, US, and Japan—Romualdez said there are a lot of areas where investors are interested in putting their money in.

Romualdez said they got these estimates from businesses and economic managers as the Philippines has been gearing towards liberalization of its economy.

READ: A first: US Presidential Trade and Investment Mission in PH

READ: US aims to be ‘economic partner of choice’ for Indo-Pacific—Raimondo

Hundred billion in investments

“I’m afraid I don’t have the ballpark figure but I can tell you, that the figures I’ve been hearing — this may sound a little bit expanded in a way—but were talking about a hundred billion in investments in the next five to ten years, perhaps even five years would probably be more appropriate,” Romualdez said when asked for a figure on the investments that would come into the Philippines.

“We have a lot of areas where we are putting ourselves, our economic managers are putting our country into a situation where we’re opening up our economy, especially in energy which is very important for us, and also of course in digital infrastructure and infrastructure, physical infrastructure, as also one of the other aspects of our economic package that we’d like to offer for potential investors,” he added.

Answering a follow-up question on the figure he provided, Romualdez said that the investments would not come from the United States alone but from other allies like Japan.

“Conservatively, in the next five to 10 years. That is a figure that was indicated to us by some potential investments that may be coming in not only from the United States but also from Japan. This includes also the technological part of it,” he explained.

Just recently, American companies have announced investments amounting to more than $1 billion in the Philippines.

US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said during an official visit to Manila last March for the trade and investment mission that the US aims to be the economic partner of choice in the Indo-Pacific.

Semiconductors and energy

According to Romualdez, the Philippines can achieve a huge percentage of this number already just by getting a share in the US semiconductor industry, which is said to be worth $80 billion just in the Asean region.

“But the semiconductor industry alone, just to give you an example, is an $80 billion business that is now in the Asean region. If we get, let’s say even 10 percent or 20 percent of that and they are seriously looking in the Philippines—we are one of seven countries that have been chosen by the United States as a place (because) we’re a trusted ally … That is an indication of how much potentially can come into the Philippines,” the Ambassador said.

“As you know the semiconductor industry is going to be the wave of the future in terms of the technology that’s going to be required for anything, for cars, for defense equipment, and so forth and so on,” he added.

Investments in energy would also play a vital role in achieving this figure, especially since the Philippines would need to ramp up its energy sources to sustain its economic growth.

“The energy exploration, of course, which involves the West Philippine Sea, is also part and parcel of what we’re looking at as to bump up our energy requirements, which is increasing every year, and I think in the next two years our energy requirement for the country is going to be very high and so I think we’re trying to fast-track that as much as we can,” Romualdez noted.

It is possible, Romualdez said, that the figure can be achieved before President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. steps down from office in 2028.

$100 billion in the next five years

“Aside from that we also have investments that we’re looking into, not only in the digital sector but also in the manufacturing sector of solar panels, and so forth and so on. So hopefully, we can really realize the $100 billion in the next five years, perhaps before the end of the term of President Marcos,” he noted.

Romualdez’s statements came after US National Security Council Coordinator for Strategic Communications John Kirby, in a separate briefing at the embassy, also noted that economic partnerships and significant investments would be part of the trilateral meeting’s topics.

Kirby said he does not want to preempt the announcement of the leaders—Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., US President Joe Biden, and Japan Prime Minister Kishida Fumio—but said these new initiatives would “accelerate and surge” investments in the Philippines.

“For example, (Commerce) Secretary (Gina Marie) Raimondo will host her economic minister counterparts Thursday morning for a discussion on enhancing trilateral trade and investment; our foreign ministers and vice foreign ministers have also met,” Kirby told reporters.

“On Thursday the leaders will announce new initiatives to accelerate and surge high-quality infra investment in the Philippines to enhance energy security, to deepen maritime cooperation, and to strengthen partnerships on technology and on cybersecurity,” he added.

Business meetings

Aside from the trilateral and bilateral meetings that Marcos would participate in, Romualdez said that part of the President’s schedule are talks and engagements with major business players in the US.

A dinner with 200 business people was set by the US-Philippine Society for Marcos, according to the Ambassador.

“As you know, the President also is going to be meeting with some businessmen here again, they’ve asked to meet with him and so he will have a meeting with them and also a dinner that is being hosted by the US-Philippine Society, which is our partner here in Washington DC, organized a large dinner of about 200 businessmen,” he said.

“Again, this gives you an indication of how much interest there is at this time in investments coming into the country,” he added.

Marcos is currently on his way here for a three-day official visit, which includes the bilateral summit with Biden and the trilateral summit.

Part of the discussions, aside from business and the economy, would be pursuing stronger ties and defense issues, given the heightened tensions over the West Philippine Sea.

Tensions over the WPS have been high recently, with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) complaining about the Chinese Coast Guard’s continuous harassment of local vessels assisting resupply missions to troops stationed in Ayungin Shoal.

READ: PH vessel sustains ‘heavy damage’ in Chinese coast guard attack

READ: China Coast Guard harassed PH ships anew, says PCG official

Last Sunday, PCG spokesperson Commodore Jay Tarriela said that the Chinese Coast Guard harassed Philippine vessels in the PCG.  The incident, which happened last April 4, happened near the Rozul Reef—which is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

As for Ayungin Shoal, China has constantly claimed that China owns the area even if it is within the Philippine EEZ. China also said a former Philippine president promised to remove BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin, but Marcos said he was not aware of such a deal.

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