The Philippines is an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia bounded by the two major trade routes – the Pacific Ocean and the South China Sea sharing maritime borders with Taiwan, Japan, Palau, Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and China. Its strategic location makes it a natural gateway to the Asian market. It has three main geographical divisions from North to South – Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao.
Economically, it has been identified by the World Bank as one of the top growth performers in East Asia, driven by strong exports, robust domestic consumption and infrastructure expenditures together with the government’s commitment to further increase public infrastructure investment.
The Philippines is also known because of its people – the Filipinos. According to a US based survey by the Meta Group, the Filipinos are ranked first in the number of knowledge-based jobs and workers worldwide. The Philippines is also known for its literacy rate of 94.6% allowing it to have a ready and steady supply of highly-skilled and trainable labor for every business need whether it be professional, technical, managerial and skilled workers. But the main competitive advantage of the Filipinos is their English proficiency.
The Philippine government continuously partners with the private sector to enhance the latter’s participation in infrastructure developments and services. Its innovative project, the Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) scheme model showed success and now being followed by other countries.
Moreover, the Philippines has opened up its economy to allow 100% foreign ownership in almost all sectors. Various regulations has also been amended and created to strengthen its capital markets and in effect has deregulated banking, insurance, and the shipping and telecommunication sectors to prevent the monopoly structures in the Philippine market economy. It also offers attractive incentive packages to qualified enterprises in the country’s numerous Special Economic Zones and Industrial Estates for agricultural, industrial, medical, IT and recreational activities.
Tax reforms have also been implemented to reduce income tax and enhance tax incentives for businesses in the economic zones.
The Philippines offers an unlimited business opportunities. It can facilitate a free flow of goods, services, investments, labor, and capital into the ASEAN region. It is a member of various association of nations (i.e. WTO, APEC, AFTA) and a signatory to agreements for the reduction of tariff rates on manufactured goods. The Philippines is continuously developing various areas of business for investors while it offering a dynamic consumer market adapted to an array of product choices from a competitive domestic economy.