Philippines offers huge investment opportunities26 พฤษภาคม พ.ศ. 2558
Muscat: There are great business opportunities for Omanis to explore in the Philippines as the Southeast Asian country's economy is booming, says an official at the Embassy of the Philippines in Oman.
Renowned international credit rating agencies have given the Philippines high investment grade ratings.
Speaking to Times of Oman, Minister and Consul General Hjayceelyn Quintana, deputy head of mission at the embassy, said that there are other factors and developments which are opening a new chapter in trade relations with Oman.
The Sultanate ranked 52nd as the Philippines' trading partner, 63rd as export market and 50th as import supplier in 2013.
The signing of a new air services agreement to increase the frequency of Oman Air's direct flights to the Philippines to daily is one of these factors, Quintana said, adding that it would give a boost to cargo business between the two countries.
The fact that embassies are present in both capitals and Omanis are not required to apply for visa for a maximum stay of 30 days has also helped facilitate bilateral trade, she said.
Memorandum of agreement
In addition, Quintana noted that Oman and the Philippines can take advantage of the existing memorandum of agreement (MoA) between the chambers of commerce and industry of both countries as well as the well-developed public-private partnership strategy of the Philippine government.
According to her, an agreement on the avoidance of double taxation, which is currently being negotiated, would also provide an environment conducive to increasing trade and investment between Oman and the Philippines.
"We are currently negotiating the agreement and the Philippines will be hosting the next round of negotiations this year," the official said.
The Philippines-Oman relationship is built on a strong foundation and labour cooperation has been the hallmark of these relations over the years, Quintana said, adding, "Both sides believe it is time to expand ties further into the economic field."
The bilateral trade reached $59,230,512 in 2013 compared to $20,529,932 in 2012. The Philippines exported $14,712,028 in 2013, while the country's imports from Oman stood at $44,518,484 during the same period.
Copper ores and concentrates, bread, pastry, cakes, biscuits and other baker's wares were the Philippines' top merchandise exports to Oman, while light petroleum oils and preparations, anhydrous ammonia, bottles, flasks, jars, pots, phials and other containers topped the list of its imports from the Sultanate.
Quintana said that foodstuff is one of the priority products for promotion to Oman and a business matching mission was successfully conducted in Oman by the Department of Trade and Industry of the Philippines recently that brought six Filipino companies to Oman.
Furniture, air-conditioning machines, garments, jewelry, cosmetics and personal care products are other items that the Philippines is keen to export to Oman, she added.
Asked about investment opportunities for both countries, Quintana noted that Omanis are encouraged to invest in the energy, infrastructure development and construction sectors in the Philippines, while there is great potential for investments in food, agriculture and construction industries in Oman.
The minister and consul general also said that the Philippines is keen to see Omani investors setting up companies and joint ventures there and encouraged further cooperation and exchange of know-how between small and medium enterprise (SMEs) in various files, including technology.
The Philippine government has come up with a liberal programme of fiscal and non-fiscal incentives to attract foreign capital and technology that complements local resources and offers a wide range of incentives to foreign investors.
Leisure and medical tourism and education are other areas where the two countries can cooperate, she said.
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