More foreign manufacturing companies operating in China and other ASEAN countries are seriously considering moving to Philippines due to its high-quality labor, according to the Philippine Exporters Confederation, Inc. (PHILEXPORT).
Citing Robert Young, president of the Foreign Buyers Association of the Philippines (Fobap), Philexport said two French investors are coming to Manila end of the month, while a number of Canadian, Chinese and American companies will also be here mid-May to scout for investment opportunities.
Young said these are mid-sized manufacturers of garments, apparel, shoes, toys and housewares looking to invest around $500 million and employ 1,000 to 3,000 workers.
"These people are financially capable, they are ready, they mean business, they are serious... We are lucky if we get at least 10 initially from all parts of China and other ASEAN countries," said Young.
Young said these companies are moving out of China amid the increasing labor unrest resulting in shrinking labor pool, higher capital costs and its currency issues.
"They went to other ASEAN countries but they do not like (there)...They used to be buy ing from Manila. They know that Filipinos are really good in skill, quality control and workmanship. So this is actually our number one attraction," he pointed out. Young stressed that the Philippines also can now be a cheaper source of goods, especially with the forthcoming European Union's preferential trade scheme called Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP).
"Philippine goods will be duty free entry to EU. Also, (with) the forthcoming incentivized/subsidized labor, this makes investments in the Philippines attractive," he said.
With these new investments, Young said that FOBAP members, which source products for foreign buyers, will have more factories and suppliers to choose from.
"Right now, we are running out of suppliers because in the past five years, they closed shops one by one. If they will come back, our own business will also flourish together with the Philippine economy," he added.