Japan firms looking to invest in Phl
Louella Desiderio (The Philippine Star) - September 24, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - Japanese firms intend to expand and establish new businesses in the Philippines, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.

The DTI recently received a 20-member delegation of the Kansai Economic Federation (Kankeiren) from Japan that plan to either expand or start new businesses here.

“Our survey mission in the Philippines (has) a definite objective in the light of movements toward the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) economic integration as well as negotiations both for EPA (Economic Partnership Agreement) and FTA (Free Trade Agreement),” Kankeiren vice chairman Masayuki Matsushita said.

Matsushita led the delegation composed of senior business executives from manufacturing, trade and services, and financial sectors.

The delegation included executives from Kyoei Steel Ltd., Itochu Corp., Sojitz Corp., Sumitomo Corp., Daikin Industries, Ltd., Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Obayashi Corp., Mitsui & Co., Ltd., Mitsubishi Corp., Marubeni Corp., Hitachi Zosen Corp., Daiwa Institute of Research Ltd., and Takenaka Corp.

Kankeiren, a non-profit economic organization based in the Kansai region in Japan, represents 1,400 businesses and organizations seeking to promote Kansai as an attractive location for business as well as strengthen the region’s links with other countries

Matsushita said the visit aims to learn about the country’s economic conditions, industrial policies and investment environment, and use the findings to expand business exchanges between Kansai, Japan and the Philippines.

DTI undersecretary Adrian S. Cristobal Jr. said the Kankeiren’s visit is timely as the Philippines is now one of the fastest growing economies in the region.

With the approaching regional economic integration of ASEAN member states, the economic outlook for the Philippines remains highly favorable, with continuing stable and positive investment grade credit rating by the major rating agencies such as Fitch Ratings, Standard and Poor’s, and Moody’s as well as Japan’s Credit Rating Agency, Ltd.

“Japan is a strategic partner in the Philippine growth story. After we signed the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement in 2006, Japan has become our number one trading partner and one of the top sources of investments to the Philippines,” Cristobal said.

He said the government, which is currently working on revitalizing the industrial sector particularly manufacturing, wants to attract investments in the sector to create more jobs.

To date, a total of 29 industry roadmaps in various stages of implementation have been submitted through the initiative launched in 2012.

The roadmaps  aim to close gaps to enable industries to become more competitive.

“Japan has been instrumental in improving the Philippines’ business environment and addressing infrastructure developments through its Overseas Development Assistance. We greatly value and welcome inputs of the Japanese in rolling out the country’s major infrastructure projects to sustain the upward momentum of the Philippine economy,” Cristobal added.

 Bilateral trade between the Philippines and Japan is worth over $17 billion or 14.5 percent of the Philippines’ trade to the world.

On the investment side, committed Japanese investments last year represent over 16 percent of the Philippines’ foreign direct investments, the bulk of which is in manufacturing.



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