Philippine Department of Trade & Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez and German Ambassador to the Philippines Anke Reiffenstuel joined a panel discussing German-Philippine business relations and their outlook for the future.
Germany has been a consistent trading partner to the Philippines. Currently, it is the country’s eight leading trading partner and its largest export market in Europe, Lopez reported. To further strengthen economic ties, a Joint Economic Committee (JEC) between the Philippines and Germany, formalized in Berlin last August 2019, will be held in Manila later this year.
CITIRA or the Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Rationalization Act, which seeks to lower corporate income taxes but will also limit income tax incentives, came into the discussion once again as a top concern for foreign investors. The bill was met with mixed reactions, with some foreign companies threatening to pull out of the country if passed. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte placed the passing of CITIRA law a top priority for his administration. The bill was originally written to make Filipino Small to Medium Enterprises more competitive as well as increasing foreign direct investments.
Meanwhile, Ambassador Reiffenstuel says that Germany can use more news about the Philippines. According to the Reiffenstuel, most news about the Philippines that reach Germany are about drugs and human rights violations, Germans must also learn about positive news like initiatives and reforms being taken by the Philippine government. Lopez suggested the Philippines should conduct more awareness campaigns and showcases about the country.