Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual and other Cabinet secretaries during their meeting with Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd.

Tokyo, Japan—Following a high-level meeting with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual and industry players in Japan, Japanese tire manufacturer Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. expressed interest in expanding production capacity in the Philippines on June 21.

This interest follows Secretary Pascual’s assurances about the Philippines’ commitment to creating a business-friendly environment for foreign investors, particularly Japanese companies with a long history of contribution to the country’s industrial development.

“The Philippines is dedicated to enhancing its investment climate through various policy reforms and infrastructure development. Our ongoing efforts aim to attract more foreign investments, which are crucial for sustaining our economic growth and development,” said Secretary Pascual.

The Philippines has opened up key sectors to foreign participation by implementing the Public Service Act, Retail Trade Liberalization Act, and the Renewable Energy Act. Additionally, the Marcos Jr. administration’s “Build Better More” program, which includes 185 priority infrastructure projects, aims to create a more business-friendly environment.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual with Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. executives

The meeting also discussed Yokohama Rubber’s contributions to the local economy, particularly through the localization of natural rubber procurement, which has significantly benefited Filipino farmers and rubber processors in Mindanao. This initiative aligns with the DTI’s goals of promoting sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

Secretary Pascual concluded the meeting with a commitment to address concerns raised by Yokohama Rubber, including VAT incentives, power infrastructure, and labor issues.

“Yokohama Rubber’s expansion plans in the Philippines are a testament to the robust economic partnership between our countries and the confidence Japanese investors have in the Philippines,” said the trade chief.

“We will continue to work closely with our Japanese partners to ensure a stable and competitive business environment in the Philippines,” he assured.

The Philippines-Japan economic relationship remains one of the strongest in Asia, with Japan being the Philippines’ second-largest trading partner and third-largest source of approved investments in 2023. The Marcos administration continues to prioritize enhancing these economic ties, focusing on sectors such as manufacturing, renewable energy, and technology.

Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd., a global leader in tire manufacturing, has been operating in the Philippines for decades. The company’s subsidiary, Yokohama Tire Philippines Incorporated (YTPI), is one of the largest facilities in the Clark Freeport Zone, employing Filipinos and producing millions of tires annually.  ♦

Date of release: 22 June 2024