AmCham: Obama win has little impact on US-PH trade


Posted at Nov 08 2012 10:12 AM | Updated as of Nov 08 2012 09:58 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The American Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (AmCham) says the Obama victory will have little impact on the current trade and investment situation between the US and the Philippines. 

AmCham president Rhickie Jennings says what matters more is Philippine economic policy. 

AmCham wants the Philippine government to allow full ownership in protected in protected industries to attract more investments from US companies. 

"If there are sectors that could be opened up to allow more foreign equity ownership so foreigners will have protection for their investments. I think you would see growth in those areas. That's probably hampering greater participation in some sectors of the economy," Jennings said. 

"It's one of our top issues. There has been some discussion on the negative investment list and it has been expanded over the years... A Filipino citizen can go to the US and start a company, you can own plants, equipment, land 100%, while there may be concern about complete reciprocity in the Philippines, at least some elements could be opened for business to allow security of those investments." 

Ray Cunningham, chairman of the American Association of the Philippines, agrees.

"I think the restrictions are substanstial. For example, I'm a professional engineer in the US but I can't practice in the Philippines... If we want to hire an international contractor, they can't get certification from the Philippine contractor accreditation board, unless they're at least 60% Filipino owned and controlled. It's a big negative and this goes to many different businesses. I think the efforts to try to mitigate this, it's not just consitution but also many laws, is very important," he said.

AMCHAM adds during the US presidential campaign, Obama did not have a clear proposal on how to get the US economy out of a rut

"If you look at Obama, he did not come with a mandate. He didn't settle as far as this is my plan, these are the things i will do. he kept that as ambiguous as possible. He comes now to his next 4 years with the ability to go in a number of different directions," Jennings said. - ANC