Welcoming Remarks By Mr.

Michael Raeuber President, European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines President, Royal Cargo Combined Logistics Your excellencies, guests from the Government of the Republic of the Philippines, representatives of our partner business associations and corporate sponsors, representatives from embassies, development partners, and academia, fellow members of the Foreign Chambers of Commerce, our website viewers in the Philippines and abroad, ladies and gentlemen, it is my pleasure to welcome you, on behalf of the Joint Foreign Chambers, to the Second Arangkada Philippines Forum. My name is Michael Raeuber and I am President of the European Chamber of Commerce. The ECCP is committed to create a level playing field for local and foreign investors, and to inclusive growth. In this context, the ECCP has supported Arangkada from the beginning and has a prime interest in getting the Philippine economy to grow faster and inclusively.

With its many recommendations Arangkada has come a long way developing key differentiators for the success and development of the nation. Globally, the business of tomorrow will face sustainability headwinds that will challenge the way we operate. Arangkada is an opportunity for the Philippines to be at par—if not in the lead—in the ASEAN on the road to sustainable operations in the region.
It has been a little over two years since Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory Domingo hosted the Joint Foreign Chambers at DTI to present the 470-page Arangkada Philippines advocacy document to the media. Arangkada means “to accelerate,” and the document contains the work of 9 focus groups in which nearly 300 Philippine and foreign investors participated. Their output included hundreds of recommendations all aimed at generating sustained rapid employment and GDP growth through investment in the Seven Big Winner Industry sectors.
The Arangkada Philippines Project (TAPP) www.arangkadaphilippines.com

Arangkada Philippines reflects our collective view that a high, sustained, and inclusive economic growth is the solution to alleviate poverty, propelling the Philippines forward, and improving the country’s competitive position in the global economy. Our Forum last year had the theme Twice as Fast! We are all very pleased that the country’s GDP growth rate in 2012 was almost twice as high as that of the previous years and the highest among the larger ASEAN economies. A similar pace is expected this year, despite continued weakness in the economies of Europe, Japan, and the United States. Our Forum this year has adopted the theme Realize the Potential! to emphasize our strong belief that the Philippines can become a middle income economy within two to three decades if it can duplicate the high growth rate path that other successful Asian tiger economies have followed. Today, the Philippines has at least two important windows of opportunity which cannot be lost. Externally, the country has attracted increased attention and respect at a time when substantial segments of foreign manufacturing and other businesses are seeking to relocate or expand to new sites. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (2012), Foreign Direct Investments in Southeast Asia in 2011 and 2012 continued at record levels of more than US $100 billion, of which some 50% is going into tiny Singapore. Internally, President Aquino enjoys high approval ratings and last year demonstrated strong political will to fight corruption, raise taxes, and initiate a modern public sector reproductive health policy. His high ratings should reinforce the political will of his administration to continue important reforms for the remainder of his term. The sad reality that similar opportunities have been lost in the past underlines the importance of seizing the moment in the next few years to move the Philippines to a high, sustainable, and inclusive growth path, getting much needed infrastructure implementation going, removing more barriers for foreign investors and addressing the need to be part of the ASEAN Economic Community, the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), and to negotiate a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union. The Aquino Administration is seeking to establish a new normal of less corruption, faster economic growth, better infrastructure, less red tape, more
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political stability, peace in Mindanao, reformed justice, education, and health care, more jobs, and less poverty. Each of these is a major task, and all may take at least a generation to achieve. But to revert to the old normal will condemn tens of millions to a life of poverty and will certainly not Realize the Potential! One notable contribution to the anti-corruption campaign, in partnership with other Philippines business groups, the European Chamber jointly with the Makati Business Club has launched the Integrity Initiative, which has signed up over 1,600 businesses and business organizations, including many with us today. Thirtytwo Cabinet-level government officials have also signed the Integrity Pledge. Integrity Coalitions are now being established in the Visayas and Mindanao too. The Philippines should pick up the pace of foreign direct investment to sustain and even raise the high growth rates of 2010 and 2012. FDI will also create many new jobs, a continuing challenge in a country that sends 4,500 of its citizens abroad every day to work. The increasing number of inbound trade and investment missions is a good sign, as is the record level of investment approvals recorded by the BOI, PEZA, and other agencies. These indicators contradict the low numbers of net FDI reported by the Central Bank; this is certainly an area that needs more research. We have prepared a very full program today, details of which are in our printed souvenir booklets, including biographies. You should also have a copy of the Arangkada Assessment, which is thick with ratings and explanations of the status of the recommendations made in Arangkada. The bottom line is that the Second Assessment showed 65% of recommendations underway, compared to an adjusted 51% last year. We have three excellent panels today moderated by three top business media leaders. We have presentations by top officials from the departments of Trade and Industry, Tourism and NEDA: Secretaries Domingo and Jimenez and Undersecretary Tungpalan Bill Luz of the National Competitiveness Council will explain the NCC and its many working groups are progressing in improving the country’s global rankings – and where the NCC is succeeding.

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Former finance Secretary Bobby de Ocampo will again share his wisdom about the state of the economy. Also, the JFC will award its first Arangkada Lifetime Achievement Award. We are honored that our keynote speaker before closing is the distinguished Speaker of the House of Representatives Sonny Belmonte. Now to start our Forum, we will be witnessing the launch of the USAIDAmCham Partnership through the Arangkada Philippines Project. Thank you and please enjoy our Forum Realize the Potential! and join the drive for change.  

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