Front (L-R): DTI Assistant Secretary Allan Gepty; H.E. Ambassador of the Philippines to Japan Mylene Garcia-Albano; DTI Secretary Fred Pascual; Marubeni Corporation Senior Managing Executive Officer Kenichiro Oikawa; ITOCHU International, Inc. President and CEO Hiroyuki Kaizuka; Philippine Trade and Investment Center – Tokyo Commercial Counsellor Dita Angara-Mathay, Back (L-R): Toyota Tsusho Corporation Executive Officer Kohei Okada; Sumitomo Corporation Managing Executive Officer Yukihito Honda; ITOCHU Corporation Executive Officer Shuichi Miyamoto; Sojitz Corporation Executive Officer  Takefumi Nishikawa; Blueorchard Finance SA Board Member Omar Qandeel

TOKYO, JAPAN—On Monday, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual urged top Japanese trading houses to actively participate in efforts to enhance bilateral economic and trade relations between the Philippines and Japan during a dinner meeting hosted by the Philippine Ambassador to Japan H.E. Mylene J. Garcia-Albano, and organized by the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Tokyo.

In his message during the opening session of the ASEAN-Japan Business Week (AJBW) 2023, Secretary Pascual stressed that ASEAN countries and Japan can complement each other through the presence of young and vibrant Filipino workforce that will empower Japan’s aging population and in return, Japan’s advanced technological capabilities will help the Philippines transition into an economy powered by high-tech and future-ready machineries and equipment.

“Consistent with the ASEAN-Japan Co-Creation Vision which promotes the idea of ASEAN and Japan working together through complementary strengths, let us also work towards a sustainable partnership and reinforce each other’s business capabilities. Let us make this business happen in the Philippines,” Secretary Pascual said.

For their part, One Trading House executives congratulated the Secretary on the recently ratified Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Agreement which will facilitate increased trade and investments, tariff reduction, and MSMEs’ integration to the global value chains (GVCs) in the region.

The meeting was attended by Itochu Corporation President and CEO Hiroyuki Kaizuka, Marubeni Corporation Chief Strategy Officer and Regional CEO for East Asia Kenichiro Oikawa, Sojitz Corporation COO Takefumi Nishikawa, Sumitomo Corporation General Manager Yukihito Honda, and Toyota Tsusho Corporation Deputy Chief Strategy Officer Kohei Okada.

With their long and established presence in the Philippines, sogo shoshas, or trading companies, have played a large role in the development of the country’s economy. Their diversified interests span almost the entire spectrum of economic activities, from energy, infrastructure, trade, utilities, logistics, trading, real estate, industry and services.

Japan’s sogo soshas are currently branching out from its historical space of trade and investment to the integrated financing, logistics and commercial distribution, digitalization, green energy, environment, food security and all around pioneering technologies (electronic commerce, bio-projects and aerospace).♦

Date of release: 07 June 2023