Look to ASEAN! Philippines businesses urged

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The Philippine government still has a lot to do to prepare for the AEC in December 2015

With one eye on the pending ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), Samie Lim, the Philippines ‘Champion of Franchising’ urged fellow franchisors to view ASEAN as the next most lucrative markets, and not the US and Europe.

By Oliver Ellerton

With Jollibee opening its first outlet in Singapore, and more to come in ASEAN, Lim who is the chair emeritus of the Philippine Franchise Association stressed the advantages of the ASEAN Economic Community and the ASEAN +6 (ASEAN plus the key trading partners of: Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea) which would result in a combined GDP of about $17 trillion and 40% of world trade. Although Lim was referring, in his capacity as the head of the country’s franchising association, to other franchises, this message is most apt for the vibrant economy of the Philippines especially with the pending ASEAN integration in 2015.

The AEC will envision a broad single market with zero tariffs and much reduced red tape and bureaucracy. This is a change the Philippines is expecting and is ready for, according to Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo, rebutting claims that the Philippines would not be ready for the AEC. The opening up of the ASEAN economies to each others businesses would allow foreign companies to come and do business in the Philippines, creating more competition for local businesses but also opportunities. The Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) has urged the government to reduced the bureaucratic and other hurdles for small business, allowing them to expand into other markets themselves.

Despite the success of Jollibee, San Miguel and other local brands that have gone international, the obstacles to competitive corporate success within the Philippines remain vast. Poor roads and infrastructure create a huge drag on competitiveness, especially in Mindanao and antiquated investment rules still deter many companies.

However in anticipation of the AEC and the potential strain this could put on local business, the Philippine government has partnered with the private sector and quasi-government bodies to prepare and educate SMEs on trade, competitiveness and liberalisation issues. The Technical Working Group comprising of the PCCI, Makati Business Club, DTI and Department of Foreign Affairs is one such initiative. Additionally, anti-trust bills currently working their way through congress are aimed specifically and making foreign and domestic investment easier.

With the mind-set of the government and optimism surrounding the AEC in the Philippines, here’s hoping the 600million people of ASEAN will be able to enjoy more than an ‘Chickenjoy’ burger and San Miguel Light – you never know, perhaps young Thais will soon be riding a Jeepney to work!

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Philippine government still has a lot to do to prepare for the AEC in December 2015

With one eye on the pending ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), Samie Lim, the Philippines ‘Champion of Franchising’ urged fellow franchisors to view ASEAN as the next most lucrative markets, and not the US and Europe.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Philippine government still has a lot to do to prepare for the AEC in December 2015

With one eye on the pending ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), Samie Lim, the Philippines ‘Champion of Franchising’ urged fellow franchisors to view ASEAN as the next most lucrative markets, and not the US and Europe.

By Oliver Ellerton

With Jollibee opening its first outlet in Singapore, and more to come in ASEAN, Lim who is the chair emeritus of the Philippine Franchise Association stressed the advantages of the ASEAN Economic Community and the ASEAN +6 (ASEAN plus the key trading partners of: Australia, China, India, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea) which would result in a combined GDP of about $17 trillion and 40% of world trade. Although Lim was referring, in his capacity as the head of the country’s franchising association, to other franchises, this message is most apt for the vibrant economy of the Philippines especially with the pending ASEAN integration in 2015.

The AEC will envision a broad single market with zero tariffs and much reduced red tape and bureaucracy. This is a change the Philippines is expecting and is ready for, according to Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo, rebutting claims that the Philippines would not be ready for the AEC. The opening up of the ASEAN economies to each others businesses would allow foreign companies to come and do business in the Philippines, creating more competition for local businesses but also opportunities. The Philippines Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) has urged the government to reduced the bureaucratic and other hurdles for small business, allowing them to expand into other markets themselves.

Despite the success of Jollibee, San Miguel and other local brands that have gone international, the obstacles to competitive corporate success within the Philippines remain vast. Poor roads and infrastructure create a huge drag on competitiveness, especially in Mindanao and antiquated investment rules still deter many companies.

However in anticipation of the AEC and the potential strain this could put on local business, the Philippine government has partnered with the private sector and quasi-government bodies to prepare and educate SMEs on trade, competitiveness and liberalisation issues. The Technical Working Group comprising of the PCCI, Makati Business Club, DTI and Department of Foreign Affairs is one such initiative. Additionally, anti-trust bills currently working their way through congress are aimed specifically and making foreign and domestic investment easier.

With the mind-set of the government and optimism surrounding the AEC in the Philippines, here’s hoping the 600million people of ASEAN will be able to enjoy more than an ‘Chickenjoy’ burger and San Miguel Light – you never know, perhaps young Thais will soon be riding a Jeepney to work!

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