Singapore eager to hike investments in PH

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The Singapore government has expressed interest in further increasing the city state’s investments in the Philippines, as well as adding more flights to Manila in anticipation of increased demand in air travel between the two countries.

Singaporean Ambassador to Manila Kok Li Peng, in a recent meeting with Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, said Singapore’s private sector would like to explore new growth opportunities in the Philippines, particularly in the retail, transportation, infrastructure, and tourism sectors.

Kok said Singaporean businessmen are planning to schedule the next meeting of the Philippines-Singapore Business Council (PSBC) in Davao City and hoping to meet with President Rodrigo Duterte to discuss new business and investment activities in the Philippines.

“We’re trying to get a mixed meeting of the PSBC here. They want to bring the members to Davao to meet with the President,” Kok said, to which Dominguez responded that a possible date for such a dialogue could be in February.

Singapore’s investments in the Philippines—valued at P16.8 billion in 2015—are mostly in real estate activities; electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply; and manufacturing.

Singapore was the Philippines’ fourth largest trading partner in 2015. Total Philippine exports to Singapore reached $3.8 billion in 2015, mainly comprised of electronic products, petroleum products, and electronic equipment and parts.

The Philippines, in turn, imported a total of $5 billion worth of goods from Singapore in 2015, mostly mineral fuels, lubricants, food and live animals, and industrial machinery and equipment.

Kok added that Singapore is looking at the Philippines to explore more markets for its airline industry.

“More competition is good for the consumer,” Kok said in explaining Singapore’s plan for its airline companies—Singapore Airlines, SilkAir, and Tiger Airways—to add more flights to the Philippines.

Dominguez responded that opening the Philippines’ air travel industry to competition and even partnerships with other airlines would benefit its economy and boost the growth of the tourism sector.

He said the administration is engaging more with ASEAN and countries around Asia as a way to move forward and achieve balance in strengthening Philippine diplomatic ties with other nations across the globe.