30 June 2008

Subic Offers Three-Month Rent-Free Perks to Hi-Tech Investors

In addition to a generous incentives package to investors here, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) will now offer rent-free locations to Taiwanese companies engaged in high-technology ventures.

According to SBMA Armand Arreza, the rent-free incentive was agreed upon during the joint economic conference between Taiwan and the Philippines.

During the conference, Philippine officials led by Trade Undersecretary Thomas Aquino also forged an agreement with Taiwanese counterparts to grant Taiwanese manufacturers in Subic and the nearby ClarkFreeport reduced tariffs under the ASEAN Free Trade Area’s common effective preferential tariff scheme.

Taiwanese experts, meanwhile, will be sent to the Philippines to assist in training integrated circuit designers, according to the same agreement.

The rent-free incentive, which will apply in the Subic and Clark freeports, will be good for 3 to 5 yearsand will cover firms that will each commit a minimum investment of US$25 million, Arreza clarified. He said the inducement was meant to spur the entry of more high-technology firms in the hope of putting the country’s technological capability at par with major Asian economies.

“This is the logical next step that we have to take,”said Arreza, who joined the Philippine investment mission to Taiwan on June 12-14.“We’ve been pushing to attract companies in information and communication technology, software design, biotechnology and the like, and this new incentive is a concrete manifestation of our intentions to build our capabilities and be globally-competitive,” he added.

According to Taiwan’s Ministry of Economic Affairs,there are now 79 Taiwanese firms in Subic, with total investment commitments worth US$780 million. In Clark, eight Taiwanese companies have put up ventures worth US$360 million. SBMA records, meanwhile, put Taiwanese firms as the second biggest investor group in Subic in terms of investment value.

Arreza said that with the new rent-free incentive, the SBMA hopes to realize its long-term “Cyber-Subic”program, which focuses on developing ICT facilities in Subic and roping in investors in the so-called knowledge industries.

He said that the agency has already reserved locations for ICT industrial clusters in coordination with the Subic Bay Development and Management Corp. (SBDMC),owner of the industrial park where most Taiwanese firms in Subic are now located. (SBMA Corporate Communications)