PH to leverage pact with UAE to lure investments

By Kris Crismundo

December 5, 2023, 6:36 pm

MANILA – Now that the Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (IPPA) between Manila and Abu Dhabi is in full swing, the Board of Investments (BOI) aims to leverage the deal to lure investments from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

This, as Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary and BOI Chairman Alfredo Pascual concluded his official trip to Dubai, where he also met potential UAE-based investors to establish and expand their operations in the Philippines.

Pascual, in a press briefing on Tuesday, said six companies have expressed their interest to invest in the Philippines.

These companies are in the sectors of services, renewables, real estate, remittances, and Islamic banking.

BOI Governor Marjorie Ramos-Samaniego said the Philippine delegation’s recent visit to Dubai is timely since the Philippines and the UAE are now implementing the IPPA.

“Basically, the investment agreement is one of those agreements that large, serious investors really look upon before they will infuse their invesments,” Samaniego said.

“It’s a rules-based framework for the promotion, facilitation, and protection of investments... [I]n accordance to our laws, they will be granted with national treatment, most favored nation treatment, so they will not be discriminated against EU or US. They will be given fair and equitable treatment and full protection and security in their investments, and freedom from expropriation and free transfer of capital goods, among others,” she said.

The two countries negotiated the IPPA at the height of the pandemic and concluded it during Dubai’s hosting of the World Expo 2020 that was held in 2022.

Samaniego added that since there is now an enabling investment environment, the Philippines is expecting more companies from the UAE to invest in the country.

According to the BOI, net foreign direct investments from the UAE in 2021 and 2022 were flat at PHP143 million.

Approved investments from the UAE in 2021 stood at PHP19.97 million in agriculture, forestry and fishing, with no approved foreign investments the following year. (PNA)