Japanese firms eye PH investment green lanes

Japanese firms remain interested to invest in the Philippines and expect express lanes in the country to facilitate their nvestments.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said last Thursday its officials had a business dialogue with Japanese firms which expressed their interest to explore expansion and diversification options for products to be manufactured here.

Most of these firms are in the manufacturing of electronics and medical devices, the DTI said, identifying the Japanese firms to include Brother Industries, Canon Inc., Seiko Epson Corp., Terumo Corp., JMS Co., Ltd., ROHM Co., Ltd., NIDEC Corp., Minebea Mitsumi Inc., Murata Manufacturing Co., Ltd., and IBIDEN Co., Ltd.

The DTI said these companies are eyeing around US$3 billion (PHP150 billion) investments in the country. It added that the firms have “expressed concerns over operational and fiscal bottlenecks such as the timely issuance of travel visas for their executives and engineers, the processing and release of permits and licenses by regulatory agencies, VAT (value-added tax) and other additional taxes by LGUs (local government units), and access to Covid-19 vaccinations.”

The DTI said the Japanese firms are requesting a green lane for significant foreign investments like what other governments in Asean provide to investors, and these express lanes would help in making the country remain competitive in attracting foreign investments.

DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez assured that as the country “builds back better from the pandemic, we will strengthen trade and investment ties with other countries, particularly Japan. After all, Japan has been a strong and important trading partner and investment source of the Philippines. The country is an ideal host for Japanese manufacturing and R&D (research and development) activities in electronics, printers, and medical devices,” he added.

Records show that Japan is the country’s top source of foreign investments in the first quarter of 2021,  accounting for 54.1% of the total approved foreign investments.