More Japanese firms inquire about Philippines investment prospects

MANILA, Philippines — Japanese firms are looking for opportunities in manufacturing, power, construction and food processing in the country.

During the Global Biz Forum organized by the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA),  Department of Trade and Industry – Philippine Trade Investment Center – Tokyo commercial counsellor Dita Angara-Mathay noted there has been an increase in investment-related inquiries from Japanese firms recently.

“The inquiries now addressed to us are on opportunities related to electronics manufacturing, power generation, renewable energy, construction and food processing,” she said.

“We believe investors are coming back to the Philippines for new investment opportunities, driven by a consumer market that is buoyed by a growing population with growing disposable income that remains underserved.”

PEZA director general Charito Plaza said the agency  wants to attract more Japanese firms to locate in the country’s ecozones.

“We are inviting Japan and partner stakeholders to come and invest in the Philippines. Having a Global Biz Forum with you is a timely discussion as this can pave the way to build linkages with potential local and foreign partners, as well as identify prospective locations in ecozones where you can establish your enterprises,” she said.

She said the Philippines offers many benefits for Japanese investors. Among these is access to a young workforce that is proficient in English.

As a beneficiary country of the European Union Generalized Scheme of Preferences (GSP) Plus, she said Japanese firms that would locate in the Philippines could enjoy duty-free entry for certain products to be shipped to the trade bloc.

She said the Philippines also expects its US GSP status to be renewed, which would also eliminate tariffs for some exports of firms that are located in the Philippines.

Japanese Ambassador Koshikawa Kazuhiko said recent developments in the country, such as the passage of the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises Act, which reduced the country’s corporate income tax rate and introduced changes to the incentives system, and other legislative measures seeking to encourage foreign investments, like the proposed amendments to the Retail Trade Liberalization Act, Foreign Investments Act and Public Service Act, as well as the improved security situation, are seen to bode well for investments.

“It is highly anticipated that the changes brought about by these measures will lead to more active investments from Japan in the future,” he said.

He said there are about a thousand Japanese companies registered with the PEZA engaged in electronics, semiconductors, information technology and metal processing.