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US investors show interest in Central Luzon’s New Clark City

October 29, 2019 - Tuesday 6:10 PM by Lovely Carillo

Article Banner Image SEAGAMES READY. The impressive New Clark City Athletics Stadium is ready for the 30th South East Asian Games. PHOTO: Clark Development Corporation Communications Department / Borj Meneses

American investors have shown interest in the many business opportunities offered by Central Luzon’s New Clark City, said to be the center of modern enterprise in the region.
“I believe FedEx has just signed a contract to locate in Clark. The rapid transformation of the growth corridor between Subic Bay and Clark should be of particular interest to US businesses.” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III said in a news release.

This growth corridor is anchored on what used to be American bases, he added.

The Central Luzon area is one of those that have greatly benefited from President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ program. Dominguez noted the “vibrant participation” of both international and Philippine companies, especially in the country’s infrastructure program.

But as China and Japan’s commitment to contribute to the official development assistance (ODA) to the Philippines reached $9 billion each, Dominguez said the country has not received any serious offer from the US companies. Even Korea has pledged an additional US$ 1 billion to help implement the program’s  big-ticket infrastructure projects.
Dominguez said he has so far only heard expressions of interest in the “Build, Build, Build” program from the American business community. 

He said the government will further ramp up infrastructure spending to 7 percent of GDP by the time President Duterte leaves office in 2022. It can be recalled that the country’s infrastructure budget has been increased last year to more than 5 percent of the gross domestic product.

Dominguez said the government’s ambitious infrastructure modernization and human capital development programs has been made possible by the implementation of the first package of the comprehensive tax reform program (CTRP)—the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) Law.
He said TRAIN also reduced personal income tax (PIT) rates for 99 percent of Filipino taxpayers. This, he added, has further boosted consumer demand while discouraging the consumption of unhealthy products such as sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), alcohol and tobacco.

The rest of the CTRP packages is expected to further provide funding for government expenditures especially infrastructure spending. AMong these projects are the Corporate Income Tax and Incentives Reform Act (CITIRA) bill, which covers the gradual reduction of  the corporate income tax (CIT) rate from 30 percent to 20 percent and the modernization of  the incentives system  to make  them  performance-based,  time-bound, targeted, and transparent;  increase  of excise taxes on alcohol products as well as heated tobacco and nicotine vapor products; reforms in real property valuation; simplification of the tax system on passive income, financial services, and transactions  (PIFITA); adjustments  to the Motor Vehicle User  Charge (MVUC); and  a  general amnesty  that  should incorporate the lifting of bank secrecy laws plus the automatic exchange of information.