Subic downplays risks from China-Taiwan pact
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT ZONE, Philippines -- Subic Bay Gateway Park, home to Taiwanese export firms in this freeport, does not risk losing these locators after China and Taiwan sign their Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement (ECFA) this June.
Subic Bay Development and Management Co. (SBDMC) Senior Manager Roland Addun said in an interview over the weekend that SBDMC, developer and administrator of the 300-hectare industrial park, has even signed new contracts with seven Taiwanese companies with total investments of $5.97 million and another deal for a $5-million expansion by existing Taiwanese locator.
In a Cabinet meeting last week, the National Economic and Development Authority said the ECFA may lure 135 Taiwanese export companies in Philippine economic zones and freeports to relocate to China and for tens of thousands of overseas Filipino workers now in Taiwan to lose their jobs to Chinese from the mainland.
SBDMC President Jeff Lin said separately in a statement that stronger US anti-dumping measures will make it more difficult for Chinese firms to export directly to the US, hence, a disincentive for Taiwanese exporters now operating in the Philippines to relocate there.
Mr. Lin, a Taiwanese national, added that freeports like Subic should become more attractive to Taiwanese investors in the wake of the China-ASEAN free trade agreement whose implementation started last January.
Mr. Addun identified the seven new Taiwanese locators as Subic 999 Trading Corp., Misung Subic Bay Inc., Bidderford Subic Inc., Subic Advance Screw Inc., Richway Plastics, Cano Subic Corp. and Tapu Corporation whose combined investments total $5.966 million.
These new Taiwanese locators are involved in various business activities such as manufacturing, trading and warehousing and transshipment.
Taiwanese-American company Richway Plastics which will supply shopping mall plastic bags to Wal-Mart USA is investing $2.146 million.
Subic Advance Screw Inc., which manufactures industrial bolts, nuts and screws is investing $1.5 million.
Biddeford Subic Inc. has committed to invest $880,000 to put up a manufacturing plant to produce and export medical thermometer, digital blood pressure monitor, asthma screen monitor, diagnostic equipment and microcomputer related equipment.
"So far, we haven’t received any request for pull-out or whatsoever drastic move coming from any of our Taiwanese investors," Mr. Addun said. "In fact, what we are getting now are requests for expansion and additional hiring of workers."
Mr. Addun cited the on-going expansion program of Tong Lung Philippines Metal Industry Co., Inc., a Taiwanese firm engaged in designing and producing of doorknob sets and locksets.
Tong Lung has committed to invest $5 million to establish a new factory near its first production facility at the Subic Bay Gateway Park to meet the growing demand for high-end locks worldwide.
Tong Lung’s expansion will entail the hiring of 600 new employees on top of some 400 workers it hired since 1998.
SBDMC is a joint venture between the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and the United Development Corporation of Taiwan. BusinessWorld