PEZA to scout investment deals in Middle East ahead of Pres. Duterte’s visit

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) sets investment roadshows in the Middle East next month to attract investors to explore the Philippine market.

PEZA Director General Charito Plaza told reporters that the agency will have investment seminars in Riyadh on Feb.11 and 12, in Dubai on Feb. 13 and 14, and in Qatar on Feb. 15 and 16.

This will be in preparation for President Rodrigo Duterte's plan to visit the Middle East on Feb.26 to Mar.3, according to Plaza.

"Because President Duterte is tentatively eyeing a state visit in the Middle East on February 26 onwards up to March 3 for these three countries -- Riyadh, Dubai, and Qatar," she said.

"These are still plans, that's why the dates are still tentative, but PEZA will already be doing the investment seminars for these investors of these different countries, and then hopefully we can already find a match to our local investors, Filipino investors, especially our new economic zones created in provinces and cities in Mindanao," she added.

The PEZA chief mentioned that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), local government officials, and economic zone developers will join the investment promotion agency in its roadshow in the Middle East.

"Because it was PEZA who initially talk with some sheiks and businessmen in these countries, DFA is asking us to be in the frontline in formalizing the possible investments to the Philippines prior to the state visit of the President Duterte," Plaza noted.

In a previous interview, the PEZA chief mentioned that royal families from Qatar and Dubai are looking into establishing economic zones in Philippine islands, developing cities within islands, as well as putting up their own oil deposit facilities and refineries in these islands.

"So when the President comes, there will be signing of MOUs (Memoranda of Understanding) whatever investments we've finalized during our investment seminars in these countries," she said.

Bahrain, Kuwait, and Oman are also in the plans of the government to visit next month.

Moreover, Plaza said Middle East investors were eyeing to explore tourism sector and halal industry in the country.

These investors are interested to establish businesses in Mindanao, the PEZA executive added.

On Monday, PEZA held a seminar on sukuk bonds or Islamic bonds that complies with the Sharia law to help local companies to understand doing business with Middle East-based firms.

Plaza noted that the government aimed to expand the presence of Islamic banks in the country to facilitate investments from Middle East businessmen.

Source: Philippines News Agency