MANILA, SEPTEMBER 10, 2011 (STAR) By Ma. Elisa Osorio - A majority of American businessmen believe that there will be an expansion of economic growth in the Philippines this year although rising costs of business remain a problem.

The ASEAN Business Outlook Survey 2011, conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Singapore (AmCham Singapore), in collaboration with the American Cambodian Business Council, American Malaysian Chamber of Commerce, and the American chambers of commerce in Indonesia, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam, stated an overall positive business climate in the Philippines.

The survey released yesterday by AmCham Philippines was conducted among 327 senior executives from US companies in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and the Philippines from May 18 to June 8.

It showed that 77 percent of the respondents believe that the Philippine economy will expand and only two percent expect an economic contraction.

However, 85 percent expect that living costs will increase, and 75 percent also predict housing costs will increase.

The AmCham survey showed corruption and concerns about infrastructure continue to be issues of concern to businesses in the Philippines, and this year, laws and regulations were also cited as a concern.

Meanwhile, for the ASEAN as a whole, US companies expect the ASEAN market to become increasingly important for their businesses.

“The survey is a key pillar of the advocacy work of AmChams in ASEAN. While US businesses generally continue to favorably view the business outlook in ASEAN, the ASEAN Business Outlook Survey did find that rising costs and corruption are some factors to watch out for. In a time of economic uncertainty, we hope that our survey will help shed light on the strengths and concerns of doing business,” said Simon Kahn, chairman of AmCham Singapore.

“We will continue to work together with government agencies, chambers, and business associations to improve the environment for US companies in the region,” he added.

A majority of the companies or 73 percent expect that ASEAN’s importance to their business will increase over the next two years, while 85 percent plan to expand their business in ASEAN, and not a single company plans to contract. Almost a third of the respondents stated that Indonesia would be their top site for expansion.–With Iris Gonzales, Delon Porcalla

Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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