EU envoy: Red tape turns off foreign investors
EUROPEAN Union (EU) Ambassador to the Philippines Franz Jessen on Tuesday said foreign investors are more concerned about “red tape” in the country rather than increasing the daily minimum wage.
“If we look at the European companies, I would expect that you would struggle to find companies that are paying only the minimum wage, most of them would be paying more,” Jessen told reporters at the sidelines of the Labor Standards and Trade Forum in Makati City.
“Exactly because what they are after here is not a low cost labor but is actually a labor that has a certain quality that perform quite complex task,” he added.
Labor groups have called for a P750 nationwide daily minimum wage to help the workers cope with rising prices of fuel and basic goods.
According to Jessen, foreign investors are more worried about red tape and the complex system of business licensing in the country.
“In the context of the European Chamber, they don’t talk about the minimum wage.” he said. “It is other issues that they focus on such as red tape, complex system of licensing.”
He added that investors have also repeatedly complained about 60-40 percent foreign ownership rule stipulated in the Philippine Constitution.
Trade and labor experts stressed the importance of attaining quality labor standards and decent work at the forum organized by the EU delegation in the Philippines and the International Labour Organization (ILO).
“Promoting international labor standards is about respecting labor rights and human rights,” ILO country director Khalid Hassan. “Inequality not only affects productivity and competitiveness, but also brings instability.”
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