July 19, 2021

Japanese companies are interested in investing in the Philippines, but they have reservations.

Japanese electronics and medical device manufacturers are planning to spend more than $3 billion on growth projects in the Philippines, but they have highlighted operational and financial difficulties.

During a business discussion hosted by DTI commercial counselor Dita Angara-Mathay, Japanese companies expressed their interest in exploring growth and diversification projects, provisionally valued at over $3 billion, according to a statement from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Brother Industries, Canon Inc., and Seiko Epson Corp., all of which are in the printer business, as well as medical device manufacturers Terumo Corp. and JMS Co. Ltd., and other companies such as ROHM Co. Ltd. (integrated circuits), NIDEC Corp., and MinebeaMitsumi Inc. (micro DC motors), Murata Manufacturing Co. Ltd. (ceramic capacitors), and IBIDEN Co. Ltd. (IBIDEN Co. Ltd.) all attended (diesel particulate filter).

The businesses with manufacturing activities in the Philippines have a combined investment of $2.5 billion, exports of $6.9 billion, and employment of nearly 83,000 people.

While the companies want to explore expansion opportunities in the country, they face obstacles such as the timely issuance of travel visas for their executives and engineers, regulatory agency processing and release of permits and licenses, value-added tax and additional taxes levied by local government units, and access to COVID-19 vaccines.

According to the DTI, the businesses requested whether international investors with growth ambitions might be helped via a green or fast lane similar to those offered by other Southeast Asian nations.

These issues are being addressed with relevant government authorities, according to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, to ensure that the expansion plans go through.

The companies also indicated an interest in switching to renewable energy sources for their operations, and one of the locators asked for help since one of its key customers has mandated that its suppliers utilize 100% renewable energy by 2023.

Mylene Capongcol, head of the Department of Energy’s Renewable Energy Management Bureau, said the nation is striving to increase renewable energy’s contribution to the country’s power mix to 35 percent by 2030 and more than half by 2040.

“As the Philippines recovers from the epidemic, we will expand trade and investment relations with other nations, including Japan,” he said.

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