The Philippines and Japan conducted its third round of Industrial Cooperation Dialogue recently (June 22, 2018) as part of the continued cooperation between the two countries to focus on strategic areas of partnership.

“These industry cooperation initiatives focus more on collaboration than negotiation. Being the country’s second largest trading partner, we value Japan as among our partners in nation-building as the Philippines continues to modernize and expand its economy anchored on the “Build, Build, Build” program of the government. This dialogue will hopefully serve as the template for our bilateral negotiations with other countries in terms of partnership and cooperation,” said Trade Undersecretary and Board of Investments (BOI) Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo at the start of the dialogue at the Board of Investments Building in Makati City.

“This discussion will allow Japan to contribute and help the Philippines take advantage of its competitiveness and position itself as a manufacturing hub in the ASEAN region. The experiences of Japanese firms in specific industries like the automotive, electronics and other selected industries will hopefully spark the country to undertake the necessary reforms and action plans to push further ahead,” Japanese Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) official Satoshi Miura said, in his capacity as the head of the Japanese Delegation.

During the dialogue, Trade Assistant Secretary for Industry Development and Trade Policy Group Rafaelita Aldaba presented the updates of the implementation of the industrial development vision through the Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy, otherwise known as the i3S.

“The Department of Trade and Industry and the and BOI is further doubling its efforts in creating and sustaining the right policy framework that encourages the further development of the private sector along the lines of the country’s comparative advantage,” Assistant Secretary Aldaba said.

The i3S prioritizes the growth and development of 12 major industries which includes manufacturing (of which automotive is part of), electronics, aerospace, shipbuilding, chemicals, IT-business process management particularly knowledge process outsourcing, agribusiness, infrastructure and logistics. The i3S will usher in the upgrading of local industries which will allow them to better participate in global value chains, and generate more, better, and higher value jobs for the Filipinos.

The third round of dialogue between the Philippines and Japan is expected to deepen the cooperation and further boost trade and investment ties between the two countries. Extensive discussions were held on strategic areas such as the state of the automotive industry in the country and the direction of the automotive policy, effect of Kaizen activities for elaboration of industrial promotion plans using value-chain analysis, creation of large-scale employment through the establishment of domestic industrial base, creation of high value-added employment through innovation, prospects of fintech startups and regional development.

Toyota Motor Philippines Corp. and Mitsubishi Motor Philippines Corp. disclosed that they have already invested a total of Php10.7 billion so far in the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence (CARS) Program, one of the flagship programs of the DTI-BOI’s Manufacturing Resurgence Program (DRP). According to a JICA study, domestic auto sales are projected to hit 1.2 million units by 2027.

Both Toyota and Mitsubishi said while the industry continues to face challenges, they express optimism in complying with the requirements of the CARS program and hope that government authorities and the industry will find a “workable balance” to support the program and at the same time generate much needed revenues, in the wake of the second phase of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion Law (TRAIN) to fund the infrastructure program and create a sustainable and inclusive growth for the country.

The dialogue was attended by officials and representatives from state-run agencies such as the DTI, BOI, Philippine Economic Zone Authority PEZA), National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and other related offices. Also present were officers and representatives of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Japanese Embassy, Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO), Japan Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines (JCCIPI), Toyota Motor Philippines Co., Mitsubishi Motors Philippines, Denso Corporation and other representatives of the Japanese delegation. (END)