Half of US firms in PH see reforms continuing beyond Aquino's term (Philippines Daily Inquirer)

About half of the American companies operating in the Philippines remained optimistic that the economic reforms achieved under President Aquino’s term would be sustained beyond his presidency.

Only 17 percent of US firms in the Philippines were pessimistic that these reforms would be carried over to the next administration, while another 31 percent were reportedly neutral, according to the results of the Asean Business Outlook Survey 2016.

The survey, which serves as the key barometer of US business sentiment in Southeast Asia, polled some 500 senior executives representing American companies in the member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations on their investment plans, outlook for the region and perceptions of some of the key challenges and opportunities, based on 16 business environment factors.

Conducted from May 11 to June 8 this year, the Asean Business Outlook Survey 2016 was put together by the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore (AmCham Singapore) and the US Chamber of Commerce, with support from AmChams across the Asean region.

Survey results further showed a general optimism among the US firms operating in the Philippines, with 71 percent of those polled expressed interest to expand their operations, while another 67 percent expects their workforce in the Philippines to increase this year. Eight out of 10 companies surveyed also expect a rise in profits next year.

Survey results further showed that the expansion being undertaken by US firms here were mainly prompted by the availability of trained personnel, improvements in infrastructure and a diversified customer base.

Corruption and local protectionism, meanwhile, topped the list of perceived risks to long term business operations.

Other deterrents to expansion in the Philippines included restrictions on business and land ownership and lack of raw materials.

Compared to 2010 levels, however, the Philippines this year managed to record improvements in only six of the 16 business environment factors used in the survey.