PEZA seeks Swiss investments, promotes sustainability reporting & actions for export industries

Key areas of investments for CH in PH 

Both BOI and PEZA made their investment pitches in the JEC forum, which was attended by Swiss business chambers as well as prospective and existing Swiss investors in the Philippines.  

The key areas of existing and new investments are in the sectors of financial technology, blockchain, high-tech machinery like turbo-charging equipment used in power generation, transport and manufacturing, tobacco processing, and soil erosion technology 

Among the specific topics discussed between the two (2) countries are the exchange of views on domestic economic situation, Philippines-EFTA Free Trade Agreement, bilateral relations and economic cooperation, and concerns from the private sector which included protection of intellectual property rights and combating smuggling. 

SDGs for effective governance 

Aside from pitching the Philippine economic zones, PEZA OIC Chief Panga spoke in the JEC meeting to share about the initiatives and milestone of the agency for sustainability action and reporting for its more than 4,300 export-oriented industries. 

OIC Chief Panga highlighted PEZA’s Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) forged since March 2022 for sustainability reporting. Affiliated with the United Nations Environment Programme, GRI is an international independent standards organization that helps businesses, governments and other organizations understand and communicate their impacts on issues such as climate change, human rights and corruption.  

He said, “This MOU aims to contribute to the acceleration and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the advancement of sustainability reporting in the Philippines especially within the ecosystem of export-oriented locators in PEZA.” 

The OIC Chief also shared, “This partnership is delivered within the framework of the GRI’s Sustainability Reporting for Responsible Business program and is funded by the Switzerland State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). The signed MOU aims the following objectives: (1) Raise awareness of sustainability and sustainability reporting among the export-oriented industry; (2) Develop industry-specific sustainability reporting guidelines for the export-oriented industry; and (3) Build capacity of the export-oriented industry on how to communicate their impacts to the economy, environment, and society.” 

PEZA’s role as a regulator of ecozones and an investment promotion agency (IPA) for export and domestic industries is strategic in including sustainability goals in its regulatory powers over registered enterprises and ecozones (RBEs).  

During the JEC meeting, Panga said, “We in PEZA ensure the strict observance of the protection of labor rights and the environment in the creation and regulation of ecozones. That is why we remain committed in supporting partnerships and attracting projects which promote the goal of environment-friendly industrialization.” 

Updates on PEZA-GRI MOU Signing 

Among the updates from signed MOU with GRI are the following: 

1.     On the plans of issuing a PEZA Memorandum Circular (MC) regarding sustainable trade and investments guidelines for the compliance of locators and RBEs, a roundtable discussion (RTD) will be conducted which will be in later part of 1st quarter of 2023.  In the RTD, it shall consider different concerns and recommendations on the content of the MC as to how sustainable reporting will be integrated in the reporting requirements for RBEs. It shall also take into account legal and operational aspects.  

2.     PEZA and GRI will establish a Technical Working Group (TWG) composed of various locators and industries that encourages the observance of sustainability actions and reports.  As for the prospective TWG members that will be formed for the sustainability reporting, GRI has already provided PEZA a proposed list of chosen industry locators and partners. PEZA and GRI are also inviting the Department Trade and Industry (DTI) and the PhilExport to be one of our potential TWG members. 

3.     Launching of the Sustainability Reporting in PEZA in 2023 as benchmark and pioneering agency for this initiative with GRI to integrate sustainable reporting in trades and investments. The goal is to make sustainable actions and reporting also integrated in more public and private sectors.  

OIC Chief Panga mentioned, “Voluntary compliance to the GRI’S Sustainability Action and Reporting and the UN SDGs can be a source of competitiveness for the country in attracting more FDIs and in enhancing regulatory compliance. Many advance and developing economies subscribe to these principles to be able to measure the impact of FDIs on the host countries toward inclusive, resilient and sustainable development.”