Thursday, 12 February 2009

Philippine economy: one of the brightest spots in the region, says visiting ICC Chair Victor Fung


The Philippines remains one of the economies in the region insulated from the effects of the global economic downturn due to the reforms initiated by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo years ago.

This was the observation of Dr. Victor Fung, Chairman of the Paris-based International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), who paid a courtesy call on the President on Thursday afternoon (Feb. 12) in Malacanang.

Dr. Fung is the first chairman from Hong Kong of the ICC, the largest, most representative business organization in the world with hundreds of thousands of member-companies in over 130 countries spanning every sector of private enterprise.

“I think the Philippines is one of the economies in the region that has been relatively insulated from this tsunami. I am very impressed with the way the Philippine economy has functioned,” Dr. Fung said.

“So I think it (Philippine economy) is terrific. It is one of the brightest spots in the whole region,” he added.

Although the Philippine exporting industry has been affected by the global recession, Fung said this would be temporary due to the uninterrupted remittances from overseas Filipino workers (OFWs) and other robust businesses, such as the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry.

The continuing reforms and policies initiated by the President years ago have firmly put the Philippines on a path to stability and growth which, Fung said, has maintained the momentum in foreign investment.

“Obviously, your exports have been somewhat affected but still going on very strongly. That is not a major part of your economy. I think that remittances have kept up and your BPO has really been developed very strongly due to the very good policies of the government that started a few years ago,” Fung said.

Fung said he and the President have been meeting quite a number of times, discussing a lot of issues such as keeping the multilateral trading system strong.

“In today’s environment it is absolutely essential that we maintain the flow of trade. Trade is the lifeblood of the international economy. In my capacity as chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) which is the voice of global business, I think the idea of making sure that we keep each other informed of our respective presence in keeping the global trading system open, is very important,” Fung said.

Dr. Fung, who leaves tonight for Thailand, had a speaking engagement in Manila and has been invited as speaker in the Philippines a number of times.

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