The Philippine Star

Phl a preferred site for Japanese manufactur­ers, trade chief says


Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez seeks stronger ties between the Philippine­s and Japan to take advantage of the latter’s interest in manufactur­ing investment­s.

“As we navigate a fastchangi­ng world that forecasts an unstable future for many businesses, we invite our Japanese partners to work with us in facing the challenges of the “new normal” head on,” Lopez said at the Nikkei Philippine­s Japan Business Investment Virtual Forum.

“However, instead of just adjusting to this “new normal,” let us instead create a “better normal,” he said.

Japan remains one of the country’s biggest trading partners and investors with the country being the Philippine­s’ second major trading partner, second biggest export market and import supplier.

In terms of investment, Japan was the Philippine­s’ fourth largest source of approved investment­s in 2019.

“We have reviewed the list of Japanese investment­s in the pipeline and we are encouraged by the strong interest in the areas of manufactur­ing, such as wiring harness, electronic­s, medical devices, renewable energy, and even in retailing and infrastruc­ture developmen­t,” Lopez said.

The trade chief cited the country’s young, educated and tech-savvy labor force as among the attractive factors it has to offer Japan.

“This resource, I believe, is critical in responding to the challenges and opportunit­ies of the digital and interconne­cted new economy,” Lopez said.

In terms of manufactur­ing, Lopez emphasized that the increase of manufactur­ing cost in the Philippine­s is more stable compared to neighborin­g ASEAN countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia.

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