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Italian investment interest seen in manufacturing, mineral processing

AT LEAST three Italian companies involved in manufacturing and mineral processing are expected to invest in the Philippines, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ICCP).

“Two of these are in high-technology sectors and there is also another one that is interested in processing copper,” Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual told reporters last week.

ICCP Executive Director Lorens Ziller said that many Italian companies currently maintain headquarters in the region and could look at expanding to the Philippines.

“Where we bring in the majority of the investments is actually not from Italy, but it is from Italian companies who are already operating in the region,” Mr. Ziller said.

“They may have their headquarters in Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand, and of course they will try to expand their markets and the Philippines will be another market,” he added.

Asked for more details on the potential investors, he said that the manufacturing companies are in the metalworking and electronics sectors.

“One is in the metalworking sector in general. They finish certain products with raw materials from abroad. So, the products will be finished here in the Philippines and re-exported,” Mr. Ziller said.

“Another one is in the electronics sector… There is way more expansion now especially because of this disruption in China… many companies that move here will make their facilities bigger,” he added.

He estimated the potential investments at up to 1 billion euro if the Philippines is actively promoted as an investment hub.

“A company that we met a few months ago wants to set up a factory here and their investment is around 150 million euros,” he said.

With other companies interested in the Philippines, “we will definitely go towards a billion euro if we push hard,” he added.

He cited the need to address high power costs and ease of doing business if the Philippines is to attract more investment.

“The ease of doing business is the key here to bring more investment and that’s why we keep on working with government agencies and with our stakeholders to make it easier to do business in general,” he said.

“We should open the doors and be a little bit laxer on the restrictions and we will absolutely be flooded with investment because nowadays this (the Philippines) is one of the few places in the world where we can actually invest because the Middle East is in trouble,” he added.

The Philippine cost of power is “double compared to Vietnam, compared to other neighboring countries so we need to do something,” he said.

Mr. Ziller added, “definitely they must locate in Luzon. I mean, we try to look at Mindanao but then there are so many brownouts in Mindanao, so it doesn’t make it feasible for them to stay there.” — Justine Irish D. Tabile