PH as 'top-of-mind' investment destination for Japanese firms urged

Published November 28, 2021, 5:02 PM

by Betheena Unite

The Philippines has encouraged Japanese businessmen to keep the country as a “top-of-mind” investment destination during a recent virtual economic briefing with Japanese companies.

(Photo courtesy of the DFA)

Philippine Ambassador to Japan Jose C. Laurel V urged the foreign firms in the briefing held on Nov. 24 hosted by the Philippine Embassy in Japan, the Department of Trade and Industry, and sponsored by the ASEAN-Japan Centre, with the theme, “Sustainable Development Goals: A Philippine-Japan Partnership.”

Laurel disclosed that there are currently 964 Japanese locator companies in the country engaged in various sectors that include manufacturing, information technology, facilities operation, and logistics, “all of which have generated jobs for over 350,000 Filipinos and $9.587 billion worth of exports.”

“Japan continues to be one of the Philippines’ top trading and foreign investment partners, with direct equity investments in the various economic zones in the country, reaching P11.8 billion in the first and second quarter of this year or with 28.2 percent share of the total ecozone foreign direct investments,” the Filipino diplomat said.

Laurel also highlighted the country’s “large domestic market, preferential access to major global markets and a newly passed legislation that gives highly competitive incentives to enterprises in preferred economic sectors” as some of the factors that make the Philippines an attractive and viable destination for Japanese investors.

During the meeting, officials from the Philippine government’s economic cluster also presented the country’s current economic outlook and its programs for sustainable development.

In his video message for the virtual forum, President Duterte stressed the importance of the Philippines and Japan partnership for peace and development.

“Japan is an unrivaled partner of the Philippines for peace and development. It is one of our significant trade, investment, and development assistance partners,” Duterte said

“We welcome Japan’s continued support as we build on our accomplishments and work further to realize our Sustainable Development Goals and 2040 Vision,” Duterte added.

This year marks the 65th Anniversary of the Normalization of the Diplomatic Relations between the Philippines and Japan, and also the 10th year of the Bilateral Strategic Partnership of the two countries.

Aside from opportunities for partnership on sustainable development goals, pandemic and post-pandemic recovery efforts and programs, opportunities for supply chain diversification, health management, and economic policy continuity were also discussed.

Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez underscored that business partnerships with Japan from hereon can be strengthened in the areas of infrastructure development, manufacturing, digital technology, renewable energy (RE) and research and development (R&D) activities, saying “the Philippines is more than ready for a new and better normal.”

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, on the other hand, highlighted that the country “is working on the development of a Philippine electric vehicle industry on the back of the country’s natural and human resources.”

“In building our ecosystem, we hope technologies and investments from strategic partners such as Japan will fill the requirements of both upstream and downstream activities,” Lopez said.

“The Philippines is one of the world’s richly endowed countries in terms of mineral resources. Around 9 million hectares or 30% of the country’s total land area, has mineral potential and there is opportunity to develop and responsibly utilize untapped vast mineral resources. Among these are the so-called green metals such as nickel, copper, and cobalt that could be used for downstream industries such as EV battery manufacturing and support wiring harness production,” Lopez added.

The Filipino officials also presented various resources such as the 1.1-billion metric ton of copper reserves, which is reputed to be among the highest in the world; solar and wind resources.