By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
TOKYO, Japan – Filipino and Japanese companies are set to sign over 20 business agreements worth P300 billion which are expected to generate 80,000 jobs.
According to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, the signing will take place at the sidelines of President Duterte’s participation at the Nikkei’s 25th International Conference on The Future of Asia here on May 30 to 31.
“The Department of Trade and Industry is consistently pursuing investments from all countries to provide decent employment opportunities to Filipinos. This is part of President Duterte’s Tapang at Malasakit approach to nation-building and DTI’s priorities, summed up as Trabaho, Negosyo, Konsyumer,” Lopez said.
The Trade Secretary and his counterpart will be the ones who will witness the signing of the business agreements.
According to Lopez, Japanese investors remain bullish on the sustained growth momentum under the administration of President Duterte, given its aggressive infrastructure build-up, meaningful investment and financial reforms and demographic advantages.
The signed investment pledges will mostly be in infrastructure, manufacturing, electronics, medical devices, business process outsourcing (BPO), power, electricity, transport, automotive, food manufacturing, and marine manpower industries.
Lopez said the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) will also hold a business forum and roundtable discussions to have a closer dialogue with the Japanese investors, and an opportunity for greater business-to-business interactions.
In 2018, Japan was the Philippines’ second major trading partner with total trade at US$20 billion, US$9.5 billion worth of exports to Japan, and US$10.5billion worth of imports from Japan. The country is the Philippines’ third major export market and import supplier.
The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier said the no bilateral agreement will be signed between the two countries.
Duterte will be arriving in Tokyo on Tuesday night. This will be his third visit to the Land of the Rising Sun since becoming President in 2016.
The President is expected to travel to Tokyo on Tuesday for a four-day visit, mainly to attend to participate in the Nikkei Conference on the Future of Asia on May 31.
While in Japan, Duterte is also scheduled to hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe this Friday. The two leaders are expected to tackle defense and security, economic cooperation, infrastructure development, entry of Filipino skilled workers to Japan, assistance for the Bangsamoro region, as well as regional issues such as Korean Peninsula and the South China Sea.
On Sunday, the President showed up late and drowsy at a recent military graduation event, but Malacañang assured that President Duterte remains in good health and will push through with his visit to Japan today.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo assured the public the President has no life-threatening illness but admitted Duterte was “sleepy” and “struggled to be awake” at the Philippine Military Academy (PMA) activity due to heavy workload on the eve of the event.
Panelo explained that Duterte only had two hours of sleep.
He said the President was busy “working on papers, reading reports from various departments, and signing papers” the day before the PMA graduation.
“He is a night person. He usually sleeps at 6 a.m. He had to wake up at 8:30 a.m. for the PMA graduation rites so he had only two hours of sleep. The event at 9 a.m. was part of his sleeping time,” Panelo said. (With a report from Genalyn Kabiling)