PH, Japan sign 35 agreements, LOIs

TOKYO, Japan — The Philippines and Japan signed 35 Letters of Intent (LOIs) and agreements on Friday, Feb. 10, strengthening the long-standing bilateral relations between the two countries.

President Marcos witness the signing of 35 letters of intent and agreement in Tokyo, Japan, Feb. 10, 2023. (RTVM Screenshot)

The deals were between the governments of the Philippines and Japan, and with different business companies from both nations. They cover a wide range of partnerships aimed at deepening foreign investor confidence.

These include manufacturing, infrastructure development, energy, transportation, healthcare, renewable energy and business expansion, among other sectors.

In a speech during the signing event, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. thanked the Japanese investors for considering the Philippines as a place and partner to grow their businesses.

“Thank you all for your continuing interest and confidence in the Philippines. I look forward to our follow through on our engagements today,” he said.

“Together we can make investments happen in the Philippines,” he added.

According to the President, his administration has been working to deepen the confidence in the Philippines of foreign investors and companies.

“We have been advancing vital and game changing reforms to improve the country’s business environment. And it is our hope that companies such as yours will not only find the Philippines to be attractive investment destination,” Marcos said.

“We are designing our efforts to encourage you to stay and to find our country to be a place where your businesses will thrive,” he added.

President Marcos said the Philippine government is capitalizing on economic liberalization laws and strategic reforms to attract companies, and facilitate ease of doing business.

“Our goal is that with you as our partners, the Philippine economy will grow stronger and will generate more opportunities for our people,” he said.

Marcos pointed out that the Philippines offer more encouraging incentives to support foreign businesses through policies such as the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, the Public Service Act, the Foreign Investments Act, and the provisions of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act.

He added that the Philippines has also eased restrictions on foreign nationals to own businesses in the Philippines.

“The Philippine government is also enabling cross cutting mechanisms to ease investments. Very soon you can expect reduced transaction costs in aspects of doing business in the Philippines,” Marcos said.

In addition, President Marcos said that the Philippine government has mandated involved government agencies to establish a green lane which would streamline the processing of permits and licenses.

“We are prescribing a maximum of three working days for simple transactions and 20 working days for highly technical transactions,” he said.

“This will also offer single point of entry for strategic investments,” he added.

On a national scale, President Marcos said the government has built confidence in its socioeconomic agenda that reinforces the Philippine economy’s steady recovery and high growth trajectory.

“We build our efforts around the intentions to further promote investments, improve infrastructure, achieve energy security, create jobs and develop priority industries,” he said.

“I hope you find it encouraging that our national priorities align with building enabling environment for companies like yours,” he added.

Meanwhile, in a business luncheon event, the President bared that 114 “equally diverse” businessmen joined him in his five-day working visit, including former Senate President Manny Villar. He noted that the meeting the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) had set for 85 of the Filipino business leaders resulted in at least 255 business meetings with their Japanese counterparts.

In his speech, Marcos said there was more to admire about Japan’s unique business landscape where networks of businesses from different sectors can work efficiently and harmoniously to ensure the success of the whole.

“On top of forging new connections in business, our delegates are also here in a mission to listen, to observe, to learn, and then act on opportunities and new knowledge. I hope that these synergies that we establish with our Japanese partners today will continue to grow,” he said.

“Hopefully, beyond profit and commerce, these partnerships will now extend to lifelong friendships which will promote and encourage the deepening and the strengthening of the ties between Japan and the Philippines,” he added.

The business agreements signed on Friday morning included a wiring harness manufacturing expansion project with Asti Corporation; a printer manufacturing expansion project with Brother Industries, Ltd.; a hotel construction project with DoubleDragon Corporation/IwataChizaki Inc.; and a factory expansion project with Japan Tobacco Inc.

Also included in the list are a new factory for autoparts with Kurabe Industrial Co, Ltd.; energy, transportation, healthcare and afforestation projects with Marubeni Corporation; and automobile manufacturing expansion project and a commitment renewal to meet production targets with Mitsubishi Motors Corporation.

Joining President Marcos in the meeting are former President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, House Speaker Martin Romualdez, the Administration’s Economic Team, and the rest of the Philippine delegation.