MANILA: The Philippines is inviting global Muslim investors to establish halal businesses in the country, the Department of Trade and Industry said at the Philippine Halal Economy Festival in Manila.
The predominantly Catholic Philippines is aiming to position itself as an Asia-Pacific hub of the halal industry, seeking to tap into a global halal market estimated to be worth more than $7 trillion.
As Manila seeks to reach $4 billion in halal trade and investments over the next five years, Philippine lawmakers have also passed new regulations and amended older laws to facilitate foreign companies doing business in the country.
“These laws give more incentives to Muslim investors from around the world. We invite them to establish and operate their halal enterprises right here in the Philippines,” DTI Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual said on Wednesday.
One of those laws is the amended Foreign Investment Act, which allows qualified non-Philippine nationals to do business in the country or invest in a domestic company, Pascual added.
The Philippine Congress also amended the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, which lowered the ceiling for capital required from foreign-led retailers to set up shop in the Philippines, allowing smaller foreign businesses to open in the country.
“These ventures can cater to our vibrant domestic market or the burgeoning community of local halal consumers, which holds immense promise and potential,” he said, adding that the government was also seeking to create 120,000 new jobs in the halal sector.
The Philippines is home to around 7 million Muslims, most of whom live on the island of Mindanao and the Sulu archipelago in the country’s south, and in the central-western province of Palawan.
Pascual was speaking at the Philippine Halal Economy Festival, part of the Invest Philippine Week that brings together domestic and international investors to engage with Filipino businesses and officials.
“At the end of this series of investment promotion activities, we hope to create new business partnerships and investments. We want to signal that the new Philippines is open for business,” he said.