June 17, 2024

The Department of Trade and Industry urged Japanese companies to invest in sustainable industries in the Philippines.

During the Virtual Philippine Economic Briefing organized by the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo, DTI, and ASEAN Japan Centre, Sec. Ramon Lopez called on Japanese firms to invest in electric vehicles (EV) and to develop untapped green metals such as nickel, copper, and cobalt. 

“We are positioning the Philippines as a regional manufacturing hub for EV and EV parts in ASEAN. We recognize that the future of transportation will be autonomous, connected, electric, and shared,” Lopez said.

He added the country’s EV ecosystem is composed of 54 manufacturers and importers, including Japanese parts manufacturers and dealers like Mitsubishi, Toyota Tsusho, Hitachi Metals, and Yazaki. 

On green metals, Lopez said the Philippines is one of the world’s richly endowed countries in terms of mineral resources.

Around nine million hectares or 30 percent of the country’s total land area has mineral potential, and there is opportunity to develop and responsibly utilize untapped vast mineral resources that could be used for downstream industries, such as EV battery manufacturing and support wiring harness production. 

He also highlighted other business opportunities for prospective and existing Japanese investors. These include electronics & semiconductor, medical devices, automotive, aerospace, agribusiness, and construction.  

“With decades-long friendship and partnership, Japan has continued to be one of the country’s biggest trading partners and investors. The high participation response and strong business organizational support for this gathering is further proof that economic cooperation between Japan and the Philippines on sustainability is strategic, relevant and timely,” he said. 

From January to September, Japan has remained the Philippine’s second major trading partner, third export market, and second import supplier.

Total trade between the two countries has significantly improved by 20 percent amounting to USD16.14 billion as compared to the same period in 2020. 

Japan has consistently been among the country’s top five sources of investment pledges for years now.

For the first semester of 2021, Japan ranked as the second source of IPA-approved investments with commitments amounting to USD235.8M, a significant 563 percent increase from approved investments during the same period in 2020. 

The tone of the online briefing with the theme, “Sustainable Development Goals: A Philippine-Japan Partnership, was set by messages from the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines to Japan Jose Castillo Laurel V, and ASEAN-Japan Centre Secretary General Kunihiko Hirabayashi.  

Secretary Carlos Dominguez of the Department of Finance and Usec. Jesus Cristino Posadas of the Department of Energy joined Lopez in presenting the country’s current economic outlook and its programs for sustainable development.  

The Japan panel was composed of Executive Vice President Shigetoshi Aoyama of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) and Chair Hideyuki Tanaka of KEIDANREN Subcommittee on ASEAN Economic Relations.

DTI Philippine Trade and Investment Center-Tokyo (PTIC-Tokyo) Senior Trade Representative Dita Angara-Mathay shared, “When PTIC-Tokyo initiated this end of the year Philippine economic briefing, we relied on a survey that asked what theme would generate the greatest amount of public interest s from the Japanese business community. Sustainable Development Goals ranked highest in the survey.” 

She added, “The theme readily generated support from Japanese business organizations whose membership included the biggest to the smallest business entities, from the Japanese Chamber of Commerce to SME Support Japan. It also attracted seminar registration from over 800 entities. The high participation response and strong business organizational support indicate that economic partnerships between Japan and the Philippines on sustainability is strategic, relevant, and timely.” – Press release