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Investors want transparency, predictability, says USTR Tai


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US BUSINESSES want predictability and transparency in countries where they are looking to invest, according to the United States Trade Representative (USTR).   

“In my conversations with business leaders in our own economy, when we talk about trade and opportunities to invest outside the United States, what I hear consistently is a desire for predictability and transparency in the jurisdictions that they are considering for investment,” USTR Katherine Tai told OneNews.

“So that goes to transparency in regulatory processes, that goes to fundamental aspects of the jurisdiction like rule of law, predictability, knowing that there is recourse when things go wrong.”

Ms. Tai visited Manila on April 16-18, as part of the Biden administration’s efforts to strengthen ties with its partners in the region.

In her meetings with government officials, Ms. Tai discussed the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) negotiations.

“There is a good synergy between what investors are looking for and what we’re trying to do in terms of our trade engagements including in the IPEF,” she said.

The US and 13 Indo-Pacific countries launched negotiations on the economic framework in May. The 13 countries include Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.

“I think the framework is consistent with government and business that we want to see more sustainable economic activity. Not only sustainability with respect to the planet, but also sustainability with respect to the people who are involved in the production and the provision of goods and services,” Ms. Tai said.   

She said the Philippines would benefit from the economic inclusiveness being pushed by the framework.   

“I’m so delighted that we have the Philippines actively engaging in these negotiations precisely because if you look at the structure of the IPEF, it is about 14 countries coming together, working together to promote more resilience, more sustainability, and more inclusiveness through our economic collaboration,” she said.   

A third round of IPEF talks is scheduled in Singapore next month.

“It is our program of engagement for the 21st century to allow us to work with some of our closest partners in this region of the Indo-Pacific to produce economic outcomes that will be resilient, sustainable, and inclusive,” Ms. Tai added.

Meanwhile, Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman said US investors are concerned about the ease of doing business in the Philippines.

“They actually don’t know where to go if they want to invest, who to talk to. If they know who to talk to, there are so many people they need to meet,” she said during a roundtable with BusinessWorld reporters and editors on Wednesday.

Ms. Pangandaman was one of the economic team who gave a briefing to US investors in Washington, D.C. last week.

She said President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. is aware of these concerns and has directed the economic team to address these issues. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave with inputs from Keisha B. Ta-asan

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