European chamber expects investor interest to remain

European investors in Davao Region and Mindanao will likely remain but will have to wait until the coronavirus pandemic is over and business returns to normalcy. 

European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) Southern Mindanao Business Council chair Antonio Peralta said he sees bright prospects when European Union Trade Attaches are set to visit Davao City in the next two years. 

Peralta said there was a planned visit of Trade Attaches from different countries in the European Union (EU) in Davao last March 30 but was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the implementation of travel restrictions.

“This planned activity will be revisited in the next two years when the situation normalizes,” he said. 

Peralta said aggressive investment promotion efforts for Davao Region and Mindanao must also continue to remain as relevant investment destinations. “Thailand and Vietnam presently continue to be aggressive in the pursuit of new business locators in their countries.” 

There are European companies that have explored business opportunities in Mindanao more specifically in Davao Region. 

A French company, Biogrow Substrates Philippines, has expressed interest to establish a coco peat production facility in Davao del Sur and signed initial agreements during the Davao City Investment Conference (ICON) in June last year.

Peralta said the company, with facilities based in France, Sri Lanka, and India, is now waiting for the lifting of ECQ in Davao Region to pursue its plan of establishing a processing facility for export to Europe and other countries.

Coco peat is used to form briquettes for bedding plants and growing flowers, vegetables and fruits.

Peralta said Biogrow expressed optimism on the opening of its facility despite the occurrence of COVID-19 and see this situation as temporary and eventually will be resolved by pharmaceutical companies.

He also mentioned that a Swedish company recently bought a majority interest in a local Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) company in Davao.

European investors have set up business and shops in Davao and Mindanao and these are companies engaged in the business of agri-business, travel agency, specialty coffee and restaurants. 

European consumer durables and automotive vehicles are already in the Davao City automotive market through distributorship and dealership agreements with local companies.