Philippines remains attractive to Japanese investors

MANILA, Philippines — Japanese investors continue to see the potential of the Philippines as an investment destination, driven by its young and English-speaking workforce, according to an  official of the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO).

“The Philippines still has much to offer to Japanese companies,” JETRO Manila executive director Kazuo Nakamura said at the recent info session organized by the Philippine Board of Investments.

“Apart from the young and English-speaking workforce, which is one of the many reasons why the Philippines remains to be an attractive investment destination for Japanese, the Philippines remains an attractive investment destination with its business-friendly environment and game-changing, liberalized laws and policies,” Nakamura said, citing recent economic policy reforms of the Philippines through the passage of the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, the Foreign Investment Act and the Public Service Act.

During the session, JETRO Manila investment and economic partnership agreement (EPA) adviser Tomohiro Ando presented the comparative advantage of the Philippines, ways of targeting Japanese manufacturing companies, designing effective statistical data presentations for Japanese investors, and practical tips to make information available for Japanese investors.

He also discussed the various concerns of JETRO affiliates in  Asia and Oceania.

Ando pointed out that when it comes to the quality of employees, the Philippines is better compared to other countries, saying  human resources are one of the assets of the country in attracting Japanese investors.

For her part, BOI director Maria Rosario Dominguez cited the importance of the said info session for investment promotion agencies  as it provides significant insights about attracting Japanese companies to invest in the Philippines.

Dominguez said Japan is one of the main target investors and key markets of the country.

“We must get as much information from our stakeholders to help us direct our efforts and judiciously tap resources in eyeing and getting quality investments in priority and focused sectors which will impact the investment landscape of the Philippines,”Dominguez said.

She said  the session offers  insights regarding the Japanese decision making in the Philippines and other countries and also factors they consider in setting  up operations.

“JETRO provided us first-hand knowledge on how to effectively attract Japanese investors into the country to make the Philippines an investment destination of choice,” BOI executive director Eries Cagatan said.

“Today’s activity has been very informative and practical. We will start to apply these concepts to attract more foreign direct investments, especially from Japan,” Cagatan said.

She expects a more productive partnership with JETRO to boost investments and generate jobs for the country.

Based on the recent data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) during the second quarter, Japan was among the top three countries with the highest share of approved foreign investments at P6.51 billion, followed by  Netherlands (P19.04 billion) and Singapore (P15.89 billion).

JETRO is a government-related organization that works to promote mutual trade and investment between Japan and other countries. It aims to promote Japanese exports abroad with its core focus on the 21st century, shifting toward promoting foreign direct investment into Japan and helping small to medium-size Japanese firms maximize their global export potential.

Manila office has been cooperating with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the country’s various IPAs for many years. With its global network of more than 120 offices, including 49 in Japan and 76 in 55 other countries, JETRO holds several functions such as facilitating innovations through inward foreign direct investment in Japan and supporting startups to expand abroad.