MEDIA RELEASE: Philippine Secretary of Trade and Industry confident in economy

Gregory L. Domingo's keynote remarks highlighted the strong growth of the Philippine economy. Copyright Andy Tyler Photography

Gregory L. Domingo's keynote remarks highlighted the strong growth of the Philippine economy. Copyright Andy Tyler Photography

MEDIA RELEASE: Philippine Secretary of Trade and Industry confident in economy


Media Release

LONDON UK: Gregory L. Domingo, Philippine Secretary of Trade and Industry, spoke at a business conference at Asia House, London. A panel discussion followed Domingo’s speech. During his keynote remarks Domingo highlighted the strong growth of the Philippine economy and outlined a series of ambitious government reforms to liberalise and facilitate trade and investment in various sectors.

He discussed the development of service and manufacturing industries as well as the government’s increased investment in education and infrastructure development. He also noted the importance of the Philippines’ inclusion into the EU’s GSP+ scheme (Generalised System of Preferences), a trade regulation where a number of Philippine exports benefit from duty-free treatment within the EU market.

Domingo told delegates that the Philippines is making a concerted effort to create a more favourable business environment, the result of which has been seen in the country performing better in a number of global rankings. The Philippines has overtaken 53 countries over the last four years in the Doing Business Report 2015 published by the World Bank Group. Domingo was keen to highlight that “these accomplishments were not [achieved] by chance but due to hard work and unity of purpose due to better governance, good fiscal responsibility and being more business friendly.”


Domingo tells the packed audience that the Philippines is concentrating on becoming more business friendly. Copyright Andy Tyler Photography

Ahead of the formation of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) at the end of 2015, Domingo stated that “it makes a lot of sense for British companies, particularly those in manufacturing to establish a production base or increase their investments in the Philippines. Our material and human resource endowment plus our strategic location make us an ideal gateway to the ASEAN market of more than 600 million people.”

Domingo outlined that the workforce in the Philippines is its biggest asset, a result of its young population which has a median age of 23. Over the next few decades, this young population will enter into the labour force and generate income which will lead to increased consumer spending. Domingo iterated that the Philippines government is already starting to see the early stages of this increase in spending, with sales of cars, motorbikes and housing rapidly increasing. Domingo said that to sustain this increased growth the government has more than doubled its education budget since 2010.

The government has introduced reforms to create a favourable business environment which have renewed investor interest in the country. Such reforms were outlined by panel member Guillermo M. Luz, Associate Director of Ayala Corporation and Co-chair of the National Competitiveness Council for the Private Sector, who discussed recent reforms including the Go Negosyo Act which aims to strengthen micro, small and medium enterprises by promoting job generation and inclusive growth. Luz expressed his confidence that gains as a result of such reforms would be achieved and sustained.

Discussions concentrated in part on the opportunities offered by Manila, a city which adds 1,500 people to its population every day. Jeremy Kelly, Director, Global Research, JLL also joined the panel and discussed JLL’s latest Global300: The New Commercial Geography of Cities report, in which Manila was a new entry into the Top30 in 2014. Kelly highlighted this as being a result of its strategic location, strong domestic demand and greater connectivity. Joining Kelly was Marcus Treacher, Global Head of Innovation, Payment and Cash Management at HSBC. He focused on the investment potential of Manila, stating that as business is globalising, cities like Manila have a huge amount of potential particularly as a result of its tech-savvy, receptive population.

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Asia House is a centre of expertise on Asia. Our mission is to bring the UK and Asia closer through our pioneering events on business, policy and politics, and arts and learning. We are the leading pan-Asian organisation in the UK, having built our reputation on our extensive network, our objectivity and our independence. Asia House is a non-profit, non-political organisation. Visit for further information.

The conference The Philippines – Asia’s Bright Spot was organised in partnership with the Department of Trade & Industry of the Philippines and the Philippine Embassy in London, and kindly sponsored by HSBC.

To read more about the succeeding conference The Philippines: Asia’s Bright Spot, and Mr Domingo’s speech, click here.

To read an exclusive interview with Guillermo M. Luz, Private Sector co-chair of the National Competitiveness Council in the Philippines, who was a speaker at the conference, click here.