Switzerland and Philippines two flags on flagpoles

Philippines eyeing wave of Swiss investments in 2023 to boost digital economy

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) is bracing itself for an increase in Swiss firms doing business in the country, with the country looking to market itself at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

A report from the Manilla Bulletin revealed that at the moment, 28 Swiss firms are operating in PEZA, nearly half of the 60 companies in the entire country. PEZA’s OIC Deputy Director Tereso Panga noted that the companies had contributed over 8,000 jobs to the local economy while injecting nearly $350 million into the nation’s GDP.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum, Panga disclosed that it was imperative for the Philippines to strengthen its ties with Switzerland for mutual gains. Panga made investment pitches on PEZA’s behalf at the forum, with the Swiss delegation led by its Head of Bilateral Economic Affairs Ambassador Erwin Bollinger making several pitches.

“We hope to attract more foreign direct investments from Switzerland and EU especially with PBBM’s ongoing participation in the World Economic Forum in Davos, together with his economic team DTI Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual and Finance Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno with their collective mission to promote the Philippines as the smart investment destination in the region,” Panga said.

Distributed ledger technology (DLT) was given prominence in the deliberation, while fintech and manufacturing firms also ranked highly. Other industries that could see a greater Swiss presence in the coming months include transport, soil erosion technology, and tobacco processing.

PEZA notes that it had assisted five Swiss companies with their operational and expansion requirements to ease their settlement. The assisted firms include Naturloop, Impact Acoustic, OVD Kinegram, Sateco, and Glencore, which PEZA says their products will benefit MSMEs in the country.

DLT adoption in the Philippines is surging past its counterparts in Southeast Asia as it ranks amongst the top countries in Chainalysis’ 2022 Global Cryptocurrency Adoption Index.

There are whispers that the country could be inching its way to having a national blockchain-based data ledger, given the government’s desire to be a leader in the space.

Experts have praised the country’s regulators for their robust legislation guiding the application of the technology in the finance and manufacturing industries.

“We’re probably more ahead than anywhere else. I’ve been to other countries where regulations stifle the growth, especially where it intersects with banking and fiat money,” Mark Vernon, Vice Chairman of the Fintech Philippines Association, said.

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