Swiss firms invest $24.7M

Photo courtesy of BOI

Initial investments totaling $24.7 million will be poured into the country by Swiss companies from deals struck during the Philippines-European Free Trade Association and 5th Philippines-Switzerland Joint Economic Committee meetings held recently in Geneva and Zug, Switzerland, respectively.

Trade Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo, Board of Investments managing head, said Wednesday the capitalization will come from several multinational firms that are either expanding or starting operations in the Philippines. He said about 475 new jobs for Filipinos are expected to be created from the deals.

Rodolfo and other members of the Philippine delegation met with SATECO AG during which the latter pledged to build a manufacturing facility in the country to supply local automotive players with silicon keypads and sensors.

The company has committed $9.7 million to build a “state-of-the-art” manufacturing plant at the TECO Industrial Park in Mabalacat City, Pampanga, Rodolfo said. The facility is projected to start operations in 2024.

Swiss startup company NaturLoop will also launch a $15 million coco board factory in the Philippines by 2026 after developing a supply chain for coconut husks in Quezon province along with local partners ProSource International Inc. and the Quezon Federation and Union of Cooperatives.

Reforms cited

Rodolfo said Swiss investors had been encouraged by the Philippine government’s business reforms under the Public Service Act, Retail Trade Liberalization Law, Foreign Investment Act, and the amended implementing rules and regulations of the Renewable Energy Act of 2008.

The last law cited by Rodolfo allows full foreign ownership of firms engaged in tapping renewable energies like solar, wind and tidal.

“There is now a greater demand for sustainability solutions in order to address the impact of climate change. Hence, it is in the country’s interest to pursue investments in renewable energy and green projects,” he said.

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has touted investment pledges he reportedly secured during the 16 to 20 January 2023 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Rodolfo’s team also visited the facility of OVD Kinegram, based in Zug, which specializes in protecting the integrity of government documents and banknotes.

He said the Philippines is one of the largest markets of OVD Kinegram, particularly in the development of the national IDs for over 100 million Filipinos.

The company is also working closely with the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas, Land Transportation Office, Social Security System, and Department of Education for securitized documents, permits and licenses.

Officials of Glencore, a Swiss multinational mining company that owns 78 percent of the Philippine Associated and Refining Corp. operating a copper smelting facility in Leyte, also met with Rodolfo’s group.

BoI-approved Swiss investments from 2017 to the third quarter of 2022 have reached P1.4 billion. They included projects of companies like Nestle, Avaloq, and CPW.

As of 2021, Switzerland ranked as the Philippines’ 26th biggest trading partner (out of 224), 17th largest export market (out of 206), and 29th biggest import supplier (out of 211).

Philippine exports to Switzerland grew by 17.3 percent in 2021 as it shipped $528.2 million, up from $450.4 million in 2020.

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