The Philippines has numerous comparative advantages that could attract more investments from Japan. This was the resounding message of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) representatives during the Info Session organized by the Board of Investments (BOI) for the Philippine Investment Promotion Plan (PIPP) member Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs).

“The Philippines still has much to offer to Japanese companies,” said Executive Director Kazuo Nakamura of JETRO Manila at the info session recently (August 19, 2022) at the BOI Head Office in Manila where JETRO presented its perspective in attracting Japanese foreign direct investments into the country beyond the pandemic.

“Apart from the young and English-speaking workforce which is one of the many reasons why the Philippines remains to be an attractive investment destination for Japanese, the Philippines remains an attractive investment destination with its business-friendly environment and game-changing, liberalized laws and policies,” Director Nakamura said in his opening remarks, citing the recent economic policy reforms of the Philippines through the passage of the Retail Trade Liberalization Act (RTLA), the Foreign Investment Act (FIA), and the Public Service Act (PSA).

Sharing Japanese investors’ perspectives on the Philippines: JETRO Manila imparted insights in attracting more Japanese investments in the Philippines with the representatives of the country’s various investment promotion agencies (IPAs) during an Info Session organized by the Board of Investments (BOI) recently at the BOI Head Office in Manila. Photo shows JETRO Manila representatives (L-R) Investment and EPA Advisor Tomohiro Ando and Executive Director Kazuo Nakamura, BOI Executive Director Evariste M. Cagatan, BCDA Vice President Jocelyn Caniones, BOI Director Maria Rosario J. Dominguez, and Bangsamoro-BOI Governor Mohamad Pasigan.

Mr. Tomohiro Ando, investment and EPA advisor of JETRO Manila, presented the comparative advantage of the Philippines, ways of targeting Japanese manufacturing companies, designing effective statistical data presentations for Japanese investors, and practical tips to make information available for Japanese investors.

Mr. Ando also presented the various concerns of JETRO affiliates in the countries in Asia and Oceania. On the comparative advantage of the Philippines in Asia, Mr. Ando pointed out that when it comes to the quality of employees, the situation in the Philippines is better compared to other countries, as he explained that human resources are one of the assets of the country in attracting Japanese investors.

BOI Director Maria Rosario Dominguez meanwhile pointed out the importance of the said info session for IPAs, as it provides significant insights about attracting Japanese companies to invest in the Philippines, for Japan is “one of the main target investors and key markets” of the country.

“We must get as much information from our stakeholders to help us direct our efforts and judiciously tap resources in eyeing and getting quality investments in priority and focused sectors which will impact the investment landscape of the Philippines,” Director Dominguez said, adding that “this session offers the insights regarding the Japanese decision making in making business in the Philippines and other countries and also factors they consider in putting up operations.”
“JETRO provided us first-hand knowledge on how to effectively attract Japanese investors into the country to make the Philippines an investment destination of choice,” Executive Director Eries Cagatan said in her closing remarks, as she expressed her appreciation to JETRO Manila for spending their time with the IPA representatives.

“Today’s activity has been very informative and practical. We will start to apply these concepts to attract more foreign direct investments, especially from Japan,” the Executive Director said, adding she hopes for continued collaboration between the country’s IPAs and JETRO Manila. “We hope for a more productive partnership with you so that we can boost investments and generate jobs for the country. Truly, we can make it happen in the Philippines,” she concluded.

Based on the recent data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) during the second quarter of 2022, Japan (Php6.51 billion) is among the top three countries with the highest share of approved foreign investments after the Netherlands (Php 19.04 billion) and Singapore (Php 15.89 billion).

Founded in 1958, JETRO is a government-related organization that works to promote mutual trade and investment between Japan and other countries. It aims to promote Japanese exports abroad with its core focus in the 21st century, shifting toward promoting foreign direct investment into Japan and helping small to medium size Japanese firms maximize their global export potential.

JETRO’s Manila office has been cooperating with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the country’s various IPAs for many years. With its global network of more than 120 offices, including 49 in Japan and 76 in 55 other countries, JETRO holds several functions such as facilitating innovations through inward foreign direct investment in Japan and supporting startups to expand abroad.#