Taiwan firms consider making PH gateway to region

By Amy R. Remo / August 5, 2016 /  Originally Posted at Philippine Daily Inquirer

More Taiwanese firms are looking to make the Philippines their gateway to Southeast Asia, as they seek to gain access to the country’s preferential trade agreements with the United States and European Union, two of the largest export markets.

According to Trade Undersecretary Nora K. Terrado, Taiwan is preparing to send here a business delegation composed of some 100 representatives of small and medium enterprises that are seriously considering trade and investment prospects here.

The firms are reportedly studying a broad range of industries in the country including construction, retail and information technology (IT).

“This is a good development for us. (The Taiwanese firms are) considering us as their entry point for the Southeast Asian region because we have the preferential agreements with the US and the EU,” Terrado said.

The trade official was referring to the generalized systems of preferences of the US and EU of which the Philippines is a beneficiary.

The US GSP eliminates duties on about 5,000 types of products if American firms import these from 122 designated beneficiary countries and territories, including the Philippines.

The EU GSP+, which took effect in December 2014, allows the Philippines to export 6,274 eligible products duty-free access to the EU over 10 years.

Previously, the Philippines was covered by the regular EU-GSP, which provided zero duty to only 2,442 products and reduced tariffs for 3,767 products.

Terrado, however, declined to say when the Taiwanese delegation was due to arrive, noting only that preparations were underway, according to the Foreign Trade Service Corps based in Taiwan.

Last year, local trade officials wooed Taiwanese firms to make the Philippines their manufacturing base in the region to secure the country’s access to these preferential treatments.

Officials made the pitch during the Joint Economic Commission (JEC) between the Philippines and Taiwan held in December.

The conduct of a JEC was meant to boost trade and investment ties between the Philippines and Taiwan, as it served as an avenue where Taiwanese firms and government can raise issues and concerns regarding the business climate here.

Business environment issues delved mostly on trade facilitation and easing the way business is done in the country. Some have raised problems about regulations, and slow release of permits, among others.

As it is, the Philippines already has good economic bilateral ties with Taiwan, which is among the country’s top five sources of investments.

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