Indian businesses urge Philippines to address concerns

02-Mar-2021 Intellasia | PhilStar | 5:02 AM Print This Post

Indian businesses want the Philippines to address delays in the approval of licenses for pharmaceutical products and tax refunds for manufacturing firms, as well as the high power and logistics costs, to allow the country to attract more foreign investors.

During the joint webinar of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce (Phil) Inc. and the India Business Forum (IBF), IBF director Aseem Roy said Indian firms are facing challenges in doing business in the Philippines.

For the pharmaceutical industry in particular, he said there are delays in the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of products, with some having to wait for three years.

He said Indian businesses recommend the implementation of a premium charge to expedite the process of registration.

“This will possibly help them to recruit extra resources and eventually this will help clear the backlog,” he said.

As some products are complex and may require deep understanding prior to securing government approval, he said Indian firms are willing to provide training for evaluators with the help of the government of India.

He said pharmaceutical products that have already secured approval in the US or European Union, should also be approved for marketing in the Philippines within six months.

Another concern is the restriction on foreign firms, including Indian companies, from participating in the bidding process conducted by the Department of Health.

“Because of this, we are paying huge commissions for local partners as they represent Indian pharma companies and hence, our product becomes more expensive,” he said.

IBF’s recommendation is to have a government-to-government arrangement on a reciprocal basis that would provide a level playing field and allow firms to participate in biddings.

As for firms engaged in manufacturing, he said there are delays in tax refunds and this can be addressed by simplifying and expediting the process.

He said the high power cost in the Philippines compared to its Southeast Asian neighbours is another concern for manufacturers and IBF is recommending subsidies and increased power production.

He said the high logistics costs could be addressed through government guidelines on the various charges.

As foreign investors cannot own land for factory and warehouse purposes in the country, he said IBF is recommending a long term lease option.

With business visa issuance taking up to three weeks, he said the IBF is also pushing for premium visa processing or visa on arrival options.


Category: Philippines

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