The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) continues to be recognized for its successful ecozone program and best practices through the years as Commonwealth countries look into the Philippines for investment promotion ventures.
This comes as the Trade Competitiveness Adviser of the Commonwealth Secretariat in London, Mr. Qazi Yawar Naeem, paid a visit to PEZA, looking into the Philippines’ Special Economic Zones (SEZs) as basis for a case study for the Trade Competitiveness Section of the Commonwealth Secretariat.
According to Mr. Naeem, “The Commonwealth Secretariat’s Trade Competitiveness Section (TCS) of the Trade, Oceans and Natural Resources Directorate (TONR), provides technical assistance to 56 member countries of The Commonwealth to improve their trade competitiveness in global markets. Interventions are targeted at the national level, and where requested, escalated to the regional and pan-Commonwealth levels.”
With this, they are currently studying how they can strengthen the ecozones of the Commonwealth member states especially in the IT sector and e-commerce and they are looking into the success stories and best practices of SEZs that they can emulate.
PHILIPPINES: LEADING SEZS IN THE WORLD
The Trade Competitiveness Adviser noted that Philippine is eyed for best practices since the 2019 World Investment report from UNCTAD had specifically recognize the Philippines’ internationally acclaimed performance in establishing new Special Economic Zones (SEZs), second to China.
“The Philippines is at the forefront of developing economic zones and PEZA’s name was specifically mentioned in the previous investment reports as well as your success stories for developing ecozones and in attracting foreign direct investments in those ecozones,” he explained.
As the principal agency authorized to administer, manage, and develop economic zones nationwide and over the years, PEZA SEZs have played a crucial role in attracting FDIs that generated the much-needed jobs, exports, local and national revenues, and other economic opportunities for the country.
In addition to this, it is worth mentioning that in PEZA, the top Commonwealth member countries’ Britain and Singapore are among the highest investors contributing to 6.88% and 3.97% of the Authority’s total investments respectively.
“It is both humbling and inspiring that PEZA continues to be attributed as one of the success stories in ecozone development in the ASEAN region. We assure you that we will not rest our laurels but continue to improve our best practices and come up with innovative ways to enhance our ecozone competitiveness also amidst increased use of e-commerce,” expressed PEZA Officer-in-Charge and Deputy Director General for Policy and Planning Tereso O. Panga.
Strengthening the SEZ program
With President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. recognizing the strategic importance of ecozones in enhancing the business and investment climate in the Philippines during his first State of the Nation Address, PEZA is now exploring new frontiers in ecozone development to cater to niche industries and to promote emerging global economic zone models in the country.
At the same time, PEZA is also taking advantage of the newly amended laws to attract strategic and big-ticket foreign direct investments to the country, which plays a vital role in the GDP growth that the Philippines is enjoying today.
“Guided by the new DTI strategic priorities, PEZA is eyeing to attract high-tech industries and emerging technologies in the fields of industrial manufacturing transport, technology media and telecommunications, health and life sciences including mineral processing of green metals,” noted OIC Panga.
To date, PEZA manages a total of 420 economic zones nationwide with 4,534 registered business enterprises contributing to the total economic development of the country.
He added, “We in PEZA remain bullish to achieve the upper middle-income status by promoting investments, generating exports, and creating employment through the ecozones program and continue to make it happen in the Philippines.”