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DTI open to more eco zones

[ ] August 19, 2010

Trade Secretary Gregory L. Domingo yesterday said he is open to the setting up more economic zones to accommodate demand for new industrial sites as long as these are run by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).

Domingo told reporters at the sidelines of the Philippine Mid-Year Economic Briefing that he supports moves by the Department of Finance to review the incentives given to enterprises due to the tight fiscal situation.

He said six industries which are competitive and which have enormous potential will get priority. These are tourism, BPO/IT services, electronics, mining, housing and agribusiness.

Domingo said government will only give incentives in cases where these will tip the balance in attracting investments.

"We will use incentives when they matter. Even if the investment amount is big or even if it is not in the priority list, if the investment will come in anyway, why give it incentives? We have to give incentives sparingly," Domingo said.

He said the government balks at the idea of creating more freeport zones but supports more ecozones under PEZA due to the agency’s track record.

"We have no need for new freeport zones. PEZA zones can be used as vehicles (in attracting investments) because they are well-managed," Domingo said.

He said the advantage of PEZA zones is that they practically do not have to deal with local government units. This the zones registered with the Board of Investments cannot do because they have to seek permits.

"We are encouraging (more ecozones) in the business process outsourcing and call center industries where buildings and parks can host investments," Domingo said.

Domingo said special ecozones have world-class infrastructure and doing business is relatively easier in them compared to non-PEZA projects where infrastructure is inadequate and doing business is cumbersome.

"The electronics sector is the best testament in doing business in the PEZA zones. Great success has also been achieved in the BPO/IT in these zones," Domingo said. - Irma Isip

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