Italy and the Philippines have enjoyed good trade relations in the past. They continue to do so and it’s looking like the future is bright as far as bilateral trade goes. In 2020, figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) show that the Philippines imported about $584 million worth of goods from Italy, and exported products worth nearly $200 million.
As an Italian who has been living and doing business in the Philippines for the past twelve years, I recognize that there are, indeed, many business and investment opportunities here in the country. That is why it was no surprise when Enrico Letta, president of Associazione Italia-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), disclosed that Italy intends to expand its businesses in the Asean region, with the Philippines as its top priority. This was shared during the online webinar “Italy-Philippines: Discovering the Opportunities,” co-organized by the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (ICCPI) and Associazione Italia-Asean in January 2021.
Our company’s (Italpinas Development Corp) investment in Cagayan de Oro was mentioned during the online webinar as one of the “notable investments of Italian businessmen in the country,” along with Fendi, Stefano Ricci S.p.A, and Novabala JV Corp. This should excite other Italian businesses, specifically those in the garments and textiles business, infrastructure, aerospace, renewable energy, and machinery.
Board of Investments OIC Lanie Dormiendo said these are the sectors that could present good opportunities for Italian entrepreneurs. Personally, I think that there are also possibilities in real estate, tourism, food and beverage, infrastructure, and power.
This is where IDC can contribute, I believe. As a successful Italian-Filipino partnership, we can share our story and experiences with the new Italian companies that are planning to invest here. IDC was born out of the enthusiasm of the two founders — an Italian architect and a Filipino lawyer — and nurtured by their understanding of and deep respect for the country and its people, as well as the hard work of every member of the organization.
As far as culture is concerned, I don’t think Italians will have a hard time adjusting to life in the Philippines. We have so many things in common — from traditions and culture to religion and our values. The Philippines has made it easy for corporations to do business here, too — processes have been streamlined and English is the language used in business. The business environment is dynamic and comparably better than many other countries. I am looking forward to seeing a bigger and livelier community of ItalPinoys in this part of the world.
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