SUBIC BAY, FREEPORT, December 27, 2005
 (STAR) By Bebot Sison Jr. — The coming year may be more auspicious for Subic as investors from the Asian business community committed to infuse more than P1.6 billion in fresh investments before the year end.

Officials of the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA), which manages the Subic special economic and freeport zone, said "things are looking up" for Subic in terms of attracting more businesses next year.

"The fresh capital infusions in Subic would be a big step in realizing President Arroyo’s 10-point economic agenda, which includes the development of Subic as a trade and services hub for the Southeast Asian region," SBMA Chairman Feliciano Salonga told The STAR.

SBMA Administrator and Chief Executive Officer Armand Arreza, meanwhile, promised business locators here to extend the operating hours of SBMA’s import-export office to make it easier for businesses to bring in raw materials to Subic and bring out finished products from the Freeport.

The additional investments are in the form of new projects, as well as expansion programs by existing locators.

Among the new investors which signed contracts with the SBMA are Asia E-Solutions Inc., which promised to infuse some P5.4 million for a business outsourcing operation; Chankor’s Corp., a Korean firm which will set up a P3.8-million restaurant and retail food shop; and Harvardis Educational Foundation Phils. Inc., which is set to invest P1.8 million for an English language learning center.

Meanwhile, JP Material Recycle Co. Inc. will invest about P1 million to operate a recycling plant for polyethylene terephtalate bottles and mixed plastics. La Jolla Subic Inc. will bring in some P761,000 to operate a seafood restaurant and catering service while Subic Cosco Corp. will set up a hotel and restaurant business with a P33.8-million capital.

Another group, the Subic Bay Christian Church, aims to establish a church and community center for social functions and conferences at the Subic Commercial and Industrial Park here. The group will infuse about P22.8 million for this project.

Five new Taiwanese locators recently committed a total of P432 million worth of fresh investments during the visit to Subic of Taiwan’s Economic Minister Mei-Yueh Ho.

The Taiwan official has also signed a memorandum of agreement with the SBMA for the establishment of an economic corridor between the special economic zones of Subic and Kaohsiung in Taiwan, as well as Clark in Pampanga.

The new Taiwanese investors include auto radiator tank maker Liankuann Enterprises, gas steamer manufacturer Gei Huan Corp., industrial steel brushes maker Lee Chia Brush, OEM electronic product manufacturer Gigatek Inc., and waste water treatment system maker Kintech Technology Co. Inc.

According to Arreza, the growing number of Taiwanese firms engaged in manufacturing here "will uplift export production and trading of goods and services in Subic."

The MOA for the establishment of the Subic-Clark-Kaohsiung is also expected to allow the free movement of goods, human resources and exports, as well as allow automatic and parallel registration of locators in the three special economic zones.

Meanwhile, six existing locators in Subic have announced their plans for expansion next year.

Koryo Subic Inc., manufacturer of high precision plastic molding for electronics products, has recently signed an amendment to its contract, which extends its lease until the year 2025.

Koryo’s expansion program will entail additional investments worth P607.5 million and will allow the hiring of 524 more skilled workers, said Koryo president Ryugi Kawasaki.

Kawasaki said that low-cost labor, strategic location, and the incentives given to locators in Subic "make the difference between the Subic Bay Freeport and other economic zones in the country."

At the same time, five existing Taiwanese locators also said they will expand operations next year. They are: Tailin Abrasives Corp., manufacturer of resinoid grinding wheels, which will infuse an additional P162 million; Hwa Fuh Plastic Co. Ltd., office stationery maker, which is expected to pour in additional investments of P162 million; Limech Garments Manufacturing Corp., with fresh investments of P108 million; Hokei Subic Corp., which makes luggage carts, with P140.4 million new investments; and Elltong Subic Inc., an importer and exporter of used office machines, which has an expansion project worth P9.1 million.

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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