PH eyes to surpass inward FDIs of ASEAN neighbors

By Kris Crismundo

April 19, 2023, 2:17 pm

MANILA – The Department of Trade and Investments (DTI) targets to exceed foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows of neighboring Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries during the term of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.

In a forum in Taguig City on Wednesday, DTI Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo said the country’s net FDI inflows from 2020 to 2022 reached USD28 billion.

Rodolfo, who is also the managing head of the Board of Investments (BOI), said the Philippines surpassed the inward FDIs of Malaysia and Thailand in 2021, as the country logged record-high FDI inflows of USD10.5 billion.

“We took over Malaysia and Thailand,” Rodolfo said, noting that the Philippines ranked sixth before among Southeast Asian countries in terms of FDI inflows.

He said DTI Secretary Alfredo Pascual committed to the President to surpass the inward FDIs of Vietnam by the mid-term of the Marcos administration and to exceed Indonesia’s FDI inflows by 2028.

In 2021, Singapore led the region in the amount of FDI inflows which reached about USD80 billion, followed by Indonesia with USD20 billion, and Vietnam with USD15 billion.

Nickel processing

The senior trade official is banking on the development of local nickel processing and its supply chain, which also drives the FDI inflows in Indonesia.

Rodolfo said Indonesia has attracted USD8 billion in FDIs for nickel processing from China alone.

He said the BOI is currently assisting a Chinese company that aims to put up its nickel processing in the country.

Rodolfo said the Chinese firm is actively seeking partners here, especially local mining companies.

“This investment will be fast. If you will look at their track record in Indonesia, they are able to ramp up all the to production in 24 months,” he added.

Rodolfo said once the Chinese company signs an agreement with its local mining partner, the nickel processing project is expected to be registered within the year.

One of the locations the firm is interested to set up its nickel processing plant is in Leyte Industrial Development Estate (LIDE), he said.

Investment leads

Rodolfo said out of the 216 investment prospects that the BOI received last year, 70 of these investment leads were pursued and have advanced to establishing their projects in the Philippines.

He said 36 of these leads were already registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission or with the investment promotion agencies, including the BOI.

Their projects amounted to PHP304.92 billion generating 17,965 jobs.

This year, the BOI targets to hit investment approvals of PHP1.5 trillion. (PNA)