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The PEZA Virtual Investment Forum held today, 09 July 2020 -- the first virtual conference in Qatar on Philippine investment opportunities under the new normal -- concluded with great success. The virtual conference was organised by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA), in coordination with the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos, the Philippine Trade & Investment Center for the Middle East, and the Philippine Business Council - Qatar.

The conference commenced with a brief presentation on the current trade & investment relations between the Philippines and Qatar by Philippine Commercial Attaché Charmaine Yalong. She emphasized the promising potential in Philippine-Qatar Trade & Investments relations, with much for progress considering that Qatar ranks as the 38th market for Philippine exports valued at $55.19 million in 2019. Meanwhile, while Philippine imports from Qatar amounted to $147.99 million in the same year.

This was followed by a presentation by Bureau of Muslim Economic Affairs Director Saleha Sacar, who highlighted the importance of investments on Halal Hubs as well as the promotion of Islamic Finance as of the 2011-2016 Philippine Development Plan.

PEZA Director General Charito B. Plaza, the event’s keynote speaker, underscored the latest sustained & strategic business opportunities in Philippine ecozones in the fields of eco, medical & wellness tourism, halal food processing, Islamic finance, IT-BPOs, and agro-industrial exports that remain 100% COVID-free with competitive incentives such as tax holidays and zero customs duties. She also invited Qatari businessmen to invest in island-city developments with up to 75-year leaseholds as well as in education & technology ecozones similar to that of the Qatar Foundation. Plaza also updated prospective investors on the expanded benefits and advantages on investing in the Philippines either as an ecozone developer or locator.

PEZA is the Philippines largest one-stop-shop government agency accounting for 64% of the country’s exports, hence, contributing to 16.28% of the Philippine’s GDP.

In the same conference, Philippine Business Council Qatar (PBC-Q) President Greg Loayon stressed that COVID-19 has put companies on an even playing field wherever they may be in the world, irrespective of industry. As such, the call of the times is for companies to embrace the new normal where technology will now play a bigger role in the world of business. PEZA, therefore, is in the right space by being early in embracing this and reaching out to a global audience as they have today. The Philippine Business Council, as PEZA’s Investment Promotions Partner in the Middle East and Europe, looks forward to more collaborations.

Doha-based PEZA Investment Promotions Partner for the Middle East Joseph Timothy Rivera shared that the event was well attended by Qatari & Filipino entrepreneurs based in Qatar, with representatives from various international business councils and some major companies in Qatar and other business groups from neighbouring GCC countries. Rivera also presented the highlights of recent Arab business delegations to the Philippines and has extended the invitation to all participants for the next business mission to the Philippines either in November this year or in April next year, depending on how the current pandemic situation develops. Said business delegations provides organized immersions to various Philippine business & government institutions and actual visits to potential ecozone sites by prospect investors.


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