Ilocos Norte is seeking to locate itself as “the gateway of East Asia” and the “Commercial Hub of Northern
Luzon”, Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc said as he met with local and global leaders in business, trade, and commerce in Metro Manila from October 3 to 6, 2022. Persuading leaders from Filipino-Chinese, Korean, Taiwanese, and Japanese organizations to invest in Ilocos Norte, Governor Marcos
Manotoc, alongside the Ilocos Norte Trade and Investment Center, presented possible investment opportunities in different sectors in the province, particularly in agriculture, mining, tourism, and labor-intensive investments.

“We will continue to lobby for investments in our twin powerhouse sectors of agriculture and tourism, while also inviting investments in renewable energy, manufacturing, services, and responsible mining. We envision Ilocos Norte as the gateway to East Asia and the commercial hub of Northern Luzon,” he Manotoc
said. The series of meetings succeeded in forginf new partnerships between the Ilocos Norte provincial government and various investment stakeholders from Manila.

The Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FFCCCI), The Korean Chamber
of Commerce Philippines (KCCP), and the Danish-Taiwan Business Group recognized the potential of Ilocos Norte’s agricultural sector. FFCCCI President Lim Bon Liong, Manotoc added, expressed his interest in rice production. KCCP PresidentHyungchong Joseph Um had proposed a partnership on agricultural exchange and cooperation, including technology and skills transfer through the seasonal worker exchange program, while the Coordinator of DTBG, John Boja, wanted to focus on fisheries development, added the Governor. While the Federation of the Filipino-Chinese Association of the Philippines Foundation Inc., along with FCCCI and KCCPI, voiced their interest in Ilocos Norte’s tourism industry.

Tim Zhou, Chief of So Mago, an e-commerce company, wants to work with Ilocos Norte government to expand his e-tourism business. In addition, KCCPI proposed a partnership with the private sector for the operation of Paoay Golf Course by forging a sisterhood with a Korean city or province. Peter Kho, the President of Ramada Encores, a hotel chain owned by Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, also expressed his interest in investing in the local hospitality industry.

The KCCPI president also proposed a partnership to build an English tutorial online learning center since
he finds setting up this kind of business is favorable considering the caliber of college graduates in the province. The Executive Director of the Japan External Trade Organization, Kazuo Nakamura, suggested bringing in labor-intensive investments in Ilocos Norte, pitching the significance of a high-quality labor force, labor cost, and cost of suppliers as considerations for Japanese investors.

Ilocos Norte under the leadership of Manotoc, has been pursuing a more “investment-friendly” climate by ensuring quality infrastructure is built to accommodate business operations, offering tax holidays to corporations, and amending the province’s code to maximize the benefits of all economic activities to all stakeholders.

Artemio A. Dumlao/ABN

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