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New deals, business matching with Japan firms to boost exports

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By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The various Japanese investment deals forged during President Duterte’s visit to Japan will fuel the country’s manufacturing resurgence, according to Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez.

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez

Aside from the 26 investment agreements signed, Lopez also reported that some 150 Japanese companies engaged in manufacturing, automobile, medical, information technology, and construction were matched and linked with 43 Filipino companies for possible partnerships and joint ventures.

Lopez spearheaded the Philippine Business Forum and Business Matching that resulted in 120 meetings held between Filipino and Japanese companies during President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent visit to Japan to attend the Nikkei’s 25th International Conference on The Future of Asia.

A Memorandum of Understanding on supply of manpower services was also explored.
Lopez said these side meetings are expected to generate $17.45 million in potential sales of Philippine exports and services to Japan in 1 to 3 years. Some Japanese companies likewise expressed interest for collaboration on fintech and AI.

During the business forum, DTI presented the Philippine growth story as well as the opportunities both in the industry and services sectors. The sessions encouraged more Japanese business executives to expand their operations in the country.

“We are very keen in engaging with Japan, especially on the aspect of manufacturing and innovation, and how we can work together to strengthen not only manufacturing but also other industries as well as several subsectors under Services. We want to identify business opportunities in Japan and the Philippines in areas of mutual interest,” said Lopez.

According to DTI, investors realized the many opportunities in a fast growing Philippine economy, the stable macroeconomic fundamentals, higher credit rating of BBB+, the educated English-speaking workforce, the demographic sweet spot that presents a growing consumer base with better purchasing power and wider market access thru preferential trade agreements with United States and European Union.

The forum also served as venue to update Japanese investors of various government reforms implemented by President Duterte’s administration, such as streamlining and simplifying of government processes to facilitate ease in doing business in the country, infrastructure development, and further opening up of more sectors for foreign equity participation.

The Japanese companies present during the event include Toshiba, Mizuho Bank, Mitsukoshi, Toyota Tusho, Sojitz, and Kagima.

Meanwhile, the PH business delegation was composed of Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Philippine Franchise Association, Toyota Motor Philippines Corporation, EEI, DMCI, Eastern Petroleum, First Asia Venture Capital, EMS Components Assembly, Meralco, Vista Land & Lifescapes, Inc., and Magsaysay People Resources Corporation, among others.

The sessions encouraged more Japanese business executives to expand their operations in the country.

“We are very keen in engaging with Japan, especially on the aspect of manufacturing and innovation, and how we can work together to strengthen not only manufacturing but also other industries as well as several subsectors under Services. We want to identify business opportunities in Japan and the Philippines in areas of mutual interest,” said Sec. Lopez.

According to DTI, investors see plenty of opportunities in a fast growing PH economy, enjoying stable macroeconomic fundamentals, higher credit rating of BBB+, the educated English-speaking workforce, the demographic sweet spot that presents a growing consumer base with better purchasing power and wider market access thru preferential trade agreements with United States and European Union.

The forum also served as venue to update Japanese investors of various government reforms implemented by President Duterte’s administration, such as streamlining and simplifying of government processes to facilitate ease in doing business in the country, infrastructure development, and further opening up of more sectors for foreign equity participation.

Meantime, Lopez said the 26 investment agreements signed during President Duterte’s visit to Japan will fuel the Philippines’ manufacturing resurgence.
Of the 26 agreements, 19 are letters of intent (LOI) that have a high rate of materialization and are in manufacturing cars, wire harness, printers, medical devices, and electronics.

“These investments will help expand our manufacturing base and increase our high-value exports. More importantly, these companies will employ thousands of Filipinos and help them better the quality of their lives,” said Lopez.

DTI Special Trade Representative (STR) in Tokyo Dita Angara-Mathay said that with these investments, the Philippines will become an emerging manufacturing hub for printers, medical devices, and wire harnessing.

The signed agreements include an LOI from Canon to expand its existing investments in the Philippines for monochrome laser printers including service parts, packaging materials, and optional products. For medical devices, Terumo Corporation signed an LOI to expand investments in manufacturing, sales and export of medical devices (i.e. disposable syringes, needles, safety-needles, IV catheters, and urinary drainage bags).

Furukawa Electric Corporation and Sumitomo Electric Industries likewise signed LOIs to expand their wire harness facilities in PH. Moreover, Furukawa will expand production capacity of wholly-owned centers for wire harnesses. Meanwhile, Sumitomo will build a new facility for wiring harness and related products for export to Japan and North America.

To train future manufacturing managers, Japanese companies Tescom Denki and Outsourcing Inc. signed an MOU with Filipino electronic and semiconductor subcontractor company EMS Group to send at least 3,000 skilled workers to Japan for training and work experience. These workers include engineers, IT professionals, and others. STR Angara-Mathay said that this program will fill the gap of manufacturing managers in PH.

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