Philippines: Japanese investors express interest in ecozones

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines remains attractive to Japanese investors, as companies engaged in the renewable energy and electronics industries have expressed interest in the country’s ecozones, according to the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA).

In a Laging Handa public briefing yesterday, PEZA officer-in-charge director general Tereso Panga said Japanese investors expressed interest in the country during the Philippine business forum in Japan.

“In the investment seminars we attended and business-to-business (B2b) meetings with potential investors, we saw that there is high interest in the area of renewable energy and electric vehicles, as well as the agro-industrial sector,”Panga said in a mix of English and Filipino.

He shared that they also met with stakeholders in the electric vehicle industry, including those part of the supply chain.

In a Facebook post yesterday, the PEZA said it conducted a roundtable discussion along with Aboitiz InfraCapital, Inc. in Japan, where it signed two partnerships.

This includes a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Junca Global Partner Inc. and a registration agreement signed with Kurabe Industrial Philippines, Inc.

Under the MOU with Junca, the two parties said they would aggressively promote the Philippines as an investment destination not only for the established manufacturing companies in Japan, but as well as startups that want to collaborate with local startups or micro, small and medium (MSMEs) that are engaged in activities under the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIRe).

Junca Global Partner, Inc. is into stem cells biotech, fintech, and blockchain technology.

Meanwhile, the registration agreement signing with Kurabe indicates their filing an application for registration as an Ecozone Export Enterprise to engage in the manufacture and assembly of car seat heater (CSH), steering wheel heater (STH), and CSH and STH heating wires at Lima Technology Center – Special Economic Zone (LTC-SEZ) in Lipa City, Batangas. Kurabe will operate in a five-hectare lot in LTC-SEZ.

Panga also shared his insights on PEZA as the top premiere Investment Promotion Agency (IPA) of the Philippines during the round table discussion.

The PEZA official said that Japan remains the number one source country of investments in its ecozones worth P740 billion.

He said there are currently 898 Japanese locators in ecozones with 352,000 direct employees.

“We continue to attract more Japanese investments because they committed to invest more in the Philippines in ecozones under PEZA,”Panga said.

In September, Panga said the PEZA sees bright prospects for the inflow of more Japanese foreign direct investments (FDIs) into ecozones in the country.

Panga said the Philippines ranks seventh out of 20 promising countries for overseas business over the medium-term based on the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) 2021 survey.

The PEZA official attributed the optimism for more Japanese FDI inflows to the country and ecozones to a number of factors, such as the continuous expansion of existing Japanese ecozone locators, particularly in the product-sectors of semiconductor manufacturing services (SMS) and electronics manufacturing services (EMS), chemicals (oleo, activated carbon), automotive and automotive parts, computer and optical products, and transport and logistics.

Panga said Japanese small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are going global and upscaling of production through JICA’s official development assistance program to link the developing countries with Japanese SMEs as an invaluable source of FDI, diverse technologies and expertise, as well as the Japanese government’s stimulus for Japanese manufacturing companies in China to shift their production to ASEAN as other factors for the optimism.

He pointed out that the Japanese investors chose the Philippines as “base of export to Japan”, and received the most votes on “good performance of sales in the ASEAN region” based on the 2021 JBIC survey.

The Japan Credit Rating Agency (JCRA) recently gave an A-level credit rating with a stable outlook for the Philippines, citing partly government measures to address the pandemic’s impact on the health system and the economy.

Other factors driving the bright prospects for Japanese FDIs according to Panga are Japan’s continuing support and active involvement in several game-changing infrastructure projects under the current administration, such as road network development, aviation, and railways sectors, including information and communication technology and energy; and PEZA’s one-stop shop service, as well as the attractive fiscal incentives under the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) regime.

Source: https://www.philstar.com/business/2022/11/21/2225207/japanese-investors-express-interest-ecozones