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Innovation, Key in Philippine–Japan Trade and Investment Relationship

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) highlighted the Philippine Government’s new industrial policy that will push for innovation as it strengthens PH-Japan trade and investment relations.

As reported, DTI Undersecretary Rafaelita Aldaba discussed the country’s Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy (i3S) and the areas that both the Philippines and Japan can collaborate under this policy during the Nikkei BP Publications’ PH-Japan Business Investment Forum held recently.

Innovation is Key

She explained that in the context of the trade and investment trends between the Philippines and Japan, along with global developments such as the entry of new technologies, there is a need to focus the efforts on innovation.

Doing so will address the opportunities and challenges arising from Industry 4.0 as well as from the increasing global competition, US-China trade war, and regional economic integration.

i3S puts innovation at the heart of the Philippines’ industrial policies. The goal is to grow globally competitive and innovative industries.

The Undersecretary underscored the Philippines’ drive to achieve several things that include:

  1. Develop its innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem through strong collaboration between and among government, academe, and industry
  2. Utilise new technologies to make the country’s industries more competitive
  3. Reduce barriers in investments
  4. Link manufacturing with agriculture and industry to expand the Philippines’ global value chain participation.

The Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) – Tokyo Commercial Counsellor Dita Angara-Mathay explained that with the Philippines and Japan sharing complementing natural and human resources, technology and innovation will play a key role in achieving the full potential of the country’s economic partnership with Japan.

Philippines Japan Investment Agreements

At the sidelines of the PH-Japan Business Investment Forum, eight investment meetings were arranged with various Japanese firms to discuss business opportunities in the Philippines.

A total of US$ 215 million-worth of investment projects to the Philippines was reported after these meetings.

These investment intentions cover the following:

  1. Infrastructure development
  2. Railways
  3. Electric Vehicle (EV)
  4. Public transport systems
  5. Retail
  6. Manufacturing
  7. Logistics
  8. Warehousing
  9. Factory automation
  10. Construction
  11. Real estate industries

Investment projects also include the opening of a Japanese burger chain in March 2020; developing smart 4WEV (4-wheel EV) using the latest IOT technologies; outsourcing animation work; and new factory facility.

There are also two expansion projects in wire harness and components manufacturing as well as a joint venture project to build 30 primary care clinics, 10 cancer centres, and install five centralised laboratory testing hubs in strategic cities.

Boosting Partnership

There are many potential opportunities for the Philippines and Japan to deepen trade and investment partnership through innovation.

The Japanese companies are making significant contributions in the areas of creating new industries, products and leapfrogging to Industry 4.0 by adopting smart manufacturing to transform the Philippines’ industries.

The Philippines will reach out to more Japanese companies specialising in electrified vehicles and parts, advanced manufacturing, factory automation, mobility solutions and smart cities, among others.

Philippine start-ups are also seen as future drivers of innovation.

More learning missions to Japan will be organised to facilitate new learnings and establish key connections with holders of new technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI).


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