Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez led the Philippine (PH) delegation to Japan (JP) for the 2018 Investment Roadshow that aims to encourage leading Japanese companies as well as small and medium enterprises – involved in auto parts, electronics, manufacturing, and shipbuilding --- to invest in PH and participate in its growth story.
“The Philippines is on an economic breakout. It is the perfect time to invest and do business in our country, which has a 6.8% GDP growth and an 8% growth in manufacturing industry. We are the best country to invest in,” said Sec. Lopez to over 400 Japanese manufacturing companies during the series of Investment Seminars on 25-28 July.
“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 the MSMEs in their value chain as well,” Sec. Lopez added.
Manufacturing is one of the priority industries under DTI’s Inclusive, Innovation-led, Industrial Strategy (I3S). It covers electronics, automotive, shipbuilding, aerospace, and furniture.
According to Sec. Lopez, JP is the number one source of foreign investments in the country and has been providing technical assistance that can facilitate more trade and investments through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).
During the first quarter of 2018, the approved investments in manufacturing industry from JP grew to Php 7.8 billion from Php 503 million in the same quarter last year.
In his discussion, Sec. Lopez highlighted government reforms implemented by President Rodrigo 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 sectors for foreign equity participation.
He also mentioned the modernization of investment incentives under the Tax Reform Acceleration and Inclusion Act Package 2 (TRAIN 2).
With the country as an ASEAN Member State, the trade chief emphasized PH’s location as critical entry point to the ASEAN market that has over 600 million people as well as possible access to the markets of ASEAN country partners.
Likewise, he highlighted the country’s Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Japan and the European Free Trade Association, and PH’s participation in the European Union’s Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) and in the United States’ Generalized System of Preferences (GSP).
“We have identified opportunities for Japanese autoparts makers to locate around the Toyota and Mitsubishi manufacturing plants in Laguna,” said the trade chief.
Meanwhile, trade in services were also highlighted in the discussion, particularly Filipino professionals in the areas of science, engineering, tourism, healthcare, and construction services. Trainings and more internship slots will be offered to Filipinos by Japanese shipbuilding companies.
Strengthening cooperation with Japan’s key cities
At the sidelines of the seminars, Sec. Lopez had separate meetings with JP’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) Kansai Ambassador Kazuhide Ishikawa, Aichi Prefecture Governor Hideaki Omura, Osaka’s Vice Governor Jun Arai and Mayor Hirofumi Yoshimura to discuss opportunities and strengthening cooperation through trade and investments.
Sec. Lopez highlighted the potentials of the country as possible location of business expansion projects as well as human resource requirements in various industries. He also expressed PH’s interest to be a partner in innovation to assist more startups and help boosting micro, small, and medium enterprises.
The trade chief also conveyed the country’s support to Osaka City as it bids to be the host of the Expo 2025 and looks forward to assist in the preparation through Filipino talents and professionals.
PH Consul General Maria Aileen Bugarin and team from the PH Consulate in Osaka also accompanied Sec Lopez in some of the meetings.
Building value together with Japanese firms
Sec. Lopez also met with Chairs and delegates from various Chamber of Commerce and Industry from Nagoya, Osaka, and Ehime Prefecture.
The trade chief underscored the government’s “Build, Build, Build” program and reforms to foster investments and generate more jobs in the country during his meeting with Kansai Economic Federation Chairman Masayoshi Matsumoto and its members.
He encouraged Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd, President Kenji Kawano to locate one of its expanding operations in Iligan to create more jobs in the area of Marawi. He also urged shipbuilding companies to partner with PH during a roundtable meeting with Imabari Shipbuilding Companies.
The PH business delegation includes the Philippine Overseas Construction Board Chair Isidro Consunji, Philippines Constructors Association President Morris Agoncillo, DATEM Chairman Levy Espiritu, First Balfour President Anthony Fernandez, AG&P Chairman Jose Leviste, Aboitiz Construction President & COO Albert Ignacio, Nikkeru President Ronald Guico, ETMC Global President Ellen Chua, EGB Construction President Erni Baggao, Flowtork Technologies President Louie Cansino, Solidforms Corporation Norman Mantaner, Wallcrete President Lillibeth Vazquez, Pemcor Industries President Bernard Morillo and EVP Cecilia Morillo, MIESCOR President Angelito Bermudo and SVP Lucito Torres, and Sta. Clara Power Corporation SVP Fernando Delgado and Legal Counsel Meilene Maquiling.
Executives from Integrated Microelectronics Inc., RJ Spring Rubber and Metal Parts Manufacturing Corporation, TRI-R Allied Industries, Inc. and Centro Manufacturing Corp and Electric Vehicle Association President Rommel Juan also joined the delegation.
As part of the investment roadshow, the group had opportunities to meet and discuss business collaborations with leading Japanese corporations, which aimed to lead possible joint ventures or trade partnerships.
Date of Release: 30 July 2018