MANILA – In a move to fortify economic relations with the Philippines, Japan is today sending a high-level trade delegation to the country. Aside from strengthening economic ties, the delegation seeks to move forward with Tokyo’s plan to make the Philippines its manufacturing investment hub in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Led by top trade officials from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Meti), the Japanese delegation will be welcomed by officials from the Department of Trade and Industry today to begin “industrial cooperation dialogues.” bringing the plan one step closer to fulfillment.
“The objective of Japan is to really make the Philippines its manufacturing investment hub in the ASEAN. The Japanese delegation will include Toshiyuki Sakamoto, the director general for trade policy of Meti, and Kazumi Nishikiwa, a senior adviser to the Japanese trade minister,” Assistant Secretary for Industry Development and Trade Policy Group Ceferino S. Rodolfo said.
Rodolfo expounded that the trade officials of Japan and their Philippine counterparts will meet in order to “synchronize policies” regarding small and medium enterprises, investing in the services and manufacturing sectors, and other related areas.
Representatives from Toyota Motors’ mother unit in Japan will likewise be among the delegates, and will enlighten trade officials on the trends in the global automotive industry and how the Philippines can strategize to best take advantage of these developments.
Japanese firms, notably those in the automotive industry, are optimistic about the Philippines’s robust economic performance.
Records of the trade department’s Bureau of Export Trade Promotion show that Japan was the No. 1 trading partner of the Philippines in 2013, in terms of merchandise goods, with total trade value amounting to $16 billion.