By Catherine Talavera (The Philippine Star), Sep 19, 2017
MANILA, Philippines — Several US-based companies are looking to relocate and expand their manufacturing facilities in the country as the trade department continues to strengthen business collaboration with investors and multinational corporations.
In a statement, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez said they recently had a roundtable meeting with members of the American Apparel and Footwear Association (AAFA) to discuss potential relocation and expansion in the Philippines.
Lopez encouraged AAFA member companies to take advantage of the extended duty-free treatment to imports of travel goods (including luggage, handbags, backpacks, tote bags) under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program.
Among the AAFA member companies are Tellas Ltd. (formerly Luenthai USA), Under Armour Inc., Michael Kors (USA) Inc., Ralph Lauren Corp., Coach Inc. and the Ascena Retail Group Inc. (makers of Ann Taylor, Loft, Lane Bryant, Dressbarn and Catherines).
According to the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in New York, AAFA members and the brands they carry have increased their presence in the Philippines due to the huge domestic market, rapid economic growth and expanding middle class.
“Secretary Lopez also met with the officials of a research-centric organization, the US-Philippines Society, for a collaborative project to streamline the country’s revenue-generating operations, to respond to internal and external security concerns, and to mitigate the impact of global warming on vulnerable sectors,“ the DTI said.
Meanwhile, the trade chief also met with Shearwater chief finance officer and chief operating officer Tom Kendrot, who confirmed the company’s expansion in the Philippines, particularly with its third operation center in the country.
Shearwater is a US clinical solutions provider, which has clinical process outsourcing operations in Taguig City and Cebu City.
Its latest operation center is set to open in Iloilo City in 2018.
“Such expansion is expected to bring in $7 million worth of investments and increase the company’s labor footprint in the country to 3,000,” the trade department said.
Lopez was recently in New York to spearhead the Philippine Investment Forum.
The trade chief highlighted the sound macroeconomic fundamentals of the country, as it aims a seven percent to eight percent economic growth annually and reduce the poverty rate from 21.6 percent in 2015 to 14 percent by 2022.
Moreover, Lopez also shared the government’s focus on infrastructure development with $160 billion worth of projects to directly address investors’ concerns on power supply, affordable telecommunications and efficient transport of goods and services.