Duterte seeks Japanese investments in PH agriculture, digital economy

Published May 21, 2021, 9:40 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

Amid efforts to hasten economic recovery from the blow of the pandemic, President Duterte has invited Japanese businessmen to invest in the country’s agriculture and digital economy sectors.

President Rodrigo Duterte (File photo/Malacañang)

Addressing the virtual international conference organized by Nikkei Inc. Friday, the President sought investments as he shared government’s plans to pursue the agricultural modernization program as well as promote e-commerce.

In trying to attract investments, Duterte mentioned the country’s recently signed law that gives “better incentives to enterprises and investors.”

“We aim to accelerate the modernization of our agricultural sector. Japanese investment is most welcome,” he said in his remarks.

Duterte also said the country intends to be an “active participant” in the global digital economy. At the early stage of the pandemic, he said science and technology have been seen as “enablers of our new normal.”

“We invite more investments to expand e-commerce and facilitate new modes of interaction and exchange in a safe and secure cyberspace,” he added.

In the same speech, the President acknowledged that the pandemic has “impelled, if not accelerated, the de-globalization process,” that led to lost trade opportunities among developing nations.

He pointed out that free movement of goods and services as well as harnessing valuable human resources remained the key to recovery and shared prosperity.

“The Philippines is ready to be a competitive actor in an open and fair global economy. Despite the pandemic, opportunities for growth remain,” he said.

The local economy suffered its worst post-war economic decline last year after the pandemic lockdown dampened business and consumer activities.

The government moved to balance public health and the economy, placing the country in and out of the lockdown whenever there’s a surge in coronavirus cases. Recently, it gradually eased movement restrictions in some parts of the country to reopen the economy and allow more people to work. Heightened restrictions such as limited religious gatherings however have been retained in Metro Manila and four nearby provinces to curb the spike in COVID-19 cases.

The President, in a recent address, warned of a possible reimposition of a stricter lockdown if the country records a resurgence of infections amid the threat of the new variants.