Ease of doing business attracts investors to Clark

Aside from its location, infrastructure and tax incentives, the Clark Freeport Zone has become an ideal destination for foreign investors because of the ease of doing business.

Evan McBride, chief investment officer of the Global Gateway Development Corporation (GGDC), said that at the Clark Freeport Zone managed by the Clark Development Corporation (CDC), there is a “very transparent business process.”

“For an investor that is first coming in, we can attest to the ease of actually investing and doing business in the Freeport Zone versus going somewhere else in the Philippines,” McBride said in a briefing held in Clark, Pampanga.

“[There is] a very transparent lease process, very transparent business process, registation process, and we’ve been able to invest hundreds and millions of dollars over the last 10 years. It’s really a true partnership with the Philippines,” he said.

GGDC is behind the development of the 177-hectare Clark Global City, formerly known as Global Gateway Clark. World-class infrastructure for businesses has already been constructed in some 50 hectares of the total area.

Access to quality infrastructure, according to McBride, is an important factor for investors as they aim to create a good workig environment for their employees.

CDC President and CEO Noel Manankil said that when locators apply in Clark, they only deal with one department. All investment processes, Manankil said, are also automated.

“In CDC, you’ll only talk to one face of government, which is one of the biggest factors especially for foreign investors,” Manankil said.

Manankil also cited the investment cilmate, availability of manpower, and surrounding communities as Clark’s value propositions. On infrastructure projects, he said P1 billion was spent for road expansions last year. This year, CDC earmarket P2 billion for road networks, a mass transit system, park improvements, and cultural investments.

On the leisure and tourism side, Widus International President and CEO Daesik Han encouraged more companies from the private sector to be part of the development in Clark, and in New Clark City, a flagship project of the Bases Conversion and Develompent Authority (BCDA).

Han said he started with an initial investment of US$4 million when he started his business in Clark 12 years ago. He said the amount has ballooned to US$500 million with the construction of the five-star Marriott Hotel in Clark targeted to be open by September, and the expansion of the Widus Hotel and Casino.

“The government is building the infrastructure but the private sector should contribute to build some recreational facilities so that this area is not going to be a transit area only,” Han said.

He said he plans to invest an additional US$500 million to make his hotel projects in Clark total to US$1 billion.

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