TOKYO, JAPAN — Following the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), and Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) last January 2024, SMBC hosted an Economic Seminar focused on briefing its Japanese corporate clients of investment opportunities in the Philippines, particularly in the economic zones under PEZA.

Director General Tereso O. Panga served as the keynote speaker alongside a reputable all-Filipino speaker line up composed of Ambassador of Philippines to Japan H.E. Mylene De Joya Garcia-Albano, former Trade and Industry and Finance Secretary and currently SMBC Global Advisor Cesar Purisima, and RCBC Chief Economist Michael Montero.

With around 140 participants, Director General Panga provided an overview of PEZA and its ecozones. The presentation highlighted PEZA economic zones as the optimal location with its business ecosystem for potential investors, emphasizing PEZA’s renowned one-stop-shop function and the country’s advantages as an attractive manufacturing hub for Japanese companies.

At the sidelines of the forum, the PEZA delegation led by DG Panga participated in several business-to-business meetings held in Tokyo and Shizuoka which involved the likes of several big industry players such as Tsuneishi, FCC, SIIX Corporation, and IMES as well as Japanese MSME TOM’S Manufacturing.

Tsuneishi, a longstanding PEZA investor since 1994, shared that it is ready for its fifth phase of expansion which will cover several big-ticket projects such as its new wood pelletizing business and manufacturing of the world’s first methanol-fueled TEU container carriers.

In its 29-year operations in the Philippines, the company has seen four re-expansions since it first started its shipbuilding business in Balamban, Cebu, growing from a modest 25-hectare footprint to now having a 170-hectare-proclaimed area. The company is also known for consistently increasing its employment, from employing 300 workers in its first entry to now being responsible for around 10,000 direct and subcontracted workers.

DG Panga also met with SIIX Co., Ltd. led by its President Koji Yanase. SIIX, a Japanese Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) provider ranked #17 in the world in 2022 by Manufacturing Market Insider, expressed that owing to their longstanding history of doing business in the Philippines, they see their Philippine operations playing a crucial role as they expand their core business and enter new territories. The company also shared that it will manufacture its patented conductive ink in the Philippines. Since 1957, SIIX has been engaged in business with the Philippines, and first established their ink production offshore operations in the country.

Lastly, FCC Co., Ltd., led by its President Yoshitaka Saito, shared that the company expects its Philippine operations to grow in the next few years, involving several projects such as the manufacturing of the clutch for Honda Click 125, production of paper ceramics for other electronics component manufacturers, and investment in new advanced technology businesses that will involve the assembly line for scooters, lining molding line, and weight line. In addition to its core business, FCC is likewise looking at incorporating new businesses such as the promotion of a circular economy in the Philippines through the use of solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) for water filtration and production of solid biomass fuel. To date, FCC has consistently dominated the global market share of motorcycle clutches and is considered as one of the biggest players in automotive clutches.

To date, Japan stands as PEZA’s largest investor, contributing to a 28% share in total investments, generating PhP 798 billion, $16.3 billion in exports, and creating 342,845 direct jobs across 877 PEZA-registered business enterprises (RBE). ♦

Date of release: 14 March 2024