On March 10th, over 220 participants have joined the Canada-ASEAN Business Council, CanCham Philippines, Quebec Government Office in Singapore, and our members and partners in the Philippines and Canada to explore business opportunities for shared economic success and prosperity. This event was part of the Canada-ASEAN Business Leaders Series 2021 organized by the CABC in partnership with the Government of Canada. The event was followed by a CABC Market Entry Workshop and Networking Session, featuring CABC member PS-engage Global Government Relations Pte. Ltd.

The event recording and presentation slides can be accessed here.

The event:

  • Provided an update on the business environment and opportunities in the Philippines
  • Discussed what opportunities the Philippines has to offer to Canadian exporters and investors, and learnings from successful Canadian businesses operating in the market
  • Provided market entry insights and networking opportunities for the Canada-ASEAN business community

Event Summary

The Canada-ASEAN Business Council (CABC) was pleased to host the Growing Canadian Business and Investment in the Philippines virtual event on March 10th in partnership with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines, the Quebec Government Office in Singapore, and the Philippines’ Department of Trade and Industry. This event, followed by a Market Entry Workshop and Networking Session, was part of the Canada-ASEAN Business Leaders Series 2021, organized by the CABC, in partnership with the Government of Canada, and supported by 7 CanChams and Business Councils based in Southeast Asia.

Key Takeaways

In the past decade, the Philippines has achieved a (pre-pandemic) growth rate of 6% since 2012. With the second-highest population in the ASEAN region and a young, rising middle class, the Philippines offers a favourable business environment, which includes high international reserves and credit ratings, corporate tax incentives, and a well-educated talent pool highly literate in English.

Agri-food, education, digital industries, business process outsourcing (BPO), defence and security, as well as franchising have demonstrated great opportunities for success, while prospects are growing for the mining, cleantech, cybersecurity, fintech, infrastructure and life sciences sectors.

Canada-Philippines Trade Relations

Canada and the Philippines have great potential to strengthen a mutual trade relationship on several economic fronts. Currently, the Philippines is one of two ASEAN member countries that have a Foreign Investment and Protection Agreement (FIPA) with Canada since 1996. More recently, in December 2020, the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry expressed its interest in joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), of which Canada is a member. 

Furthermore, in recent years, there has been a growing interest in furthering Canada-Philippines economic ties through a Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which will benefit both countries greatly. With an FTA, the Philippines would be among the preferred investment destinations for Canadian enterprises involved in BPO and financial services. Canada would also be able to tap into new growth areas such as animation, entertainment, engineering, and software design – all areas in which Filipinos are becoming increasingly skilled. 

Overall, it is expected that a closer Canada-Philippines economic relations would:

  • Diversify Canadian imports and exports; Philippine exports of manufactured goods would grow by 35% and primary goods by 8.8%
  • Open the way for large-scale employers from Canada to set up in the Philippines, which could lead to the creation of hundreds of thousands of jobs
  • Incentivize non-Canadian companies  to set up factories in the Philippines to gain access to Canadian markets, as well as its 51 FTA partners

Canada and the Philippines must continue to nurture this dynamic partnership and capture the business and investment opportunities for mutual growth.