THE BREADWINNER | Mario F. Fetalino Jr.
Aside from the recovery of local industries, the country needs foreign investments to help the economy get back to its feet.
But who would put their money in a country still reeling from the impact of the Covid 19 pandemic? I thought there was none but there are Japanese firms keen on doing business in the Philippines.
The country’s ambassador to Japan Jose Laurel delivered the good news. Based on his experience as Philippine ambassador to Japan, Laurel can see that the Japanese continue to be excited about doing business in the Philippines.
Japanese companies see the Philippines as a lucrative market for Japanese products and services, according to Laurel who spoke during the Philippines-Japan Business Investment Virtual Forum 2020 organized by the Nikkei Group Asia.
Japan’s continued interest in the Philippines will help the country in its recovery efforts to rise from the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) crisis. Filipino workers are highly regarded for their skills, making the Philippines as an attractive destination for Japanese investors.
Laurel also cited a study by Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) indicating that as of 2017, around 1,502 Japanese companies were operating in the Philippines and employing some 320,000 Filipinos.
Sixty percent of these Japanese firms are export manufacturers. They exported $13.3 billion worth of products, accounting for 26 percent of Philippine merchandise export back in 2017.
During the official visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to Japan in May 2019, the Philippine delegation bagged 26 business deals amounting to $5.5 billion. These business agreements are expected to create 82,737 new jobs.
Meanwhile, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez urged Japanese firms to look for opportunities in the Philippines as the government pushes for its industrial strategy to recover from the pandemic– the REBUILD PH or “Revitalizing Businesses, Investments, Livelihoods and Domestic Demand”.
The program aims to jumpstart and reinvigorate the economy by revitalizing consumption and enhancing production capacity. The Philippines is also poised to exhibit a V-shape recovery after the pandemic.
The Philippines is a strategic partner for Japan in the manufacturing industry for electronics, automotive, aerospace and chemicals. Other preferred areas are in the manufacture of healthcare products such as medical devices, personal protective equipment like surgical masks, medical coveralls, pharmaceuticals, food, packaging, and construction materials like iron and steel including cement.
Japanese firms may also explore opportunities in services such as animation, as well as engineering and architectural design, and other areas like logistics, smart manufacturing, electronic design services, and Internet of Things or IOT.
“We are excited as well for prospects in terms of future collaboration with Japan in video game development, software development, conventional and renewable energy, retirement infrastructure like retirement villages, and smart city development,” Lopez said.
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