Japan signs $6 billion deals with Philippines
"President Rodrigo Roa Duterte met several Japanese companies and witnessed several B-B MOUs (business-to-business memoranda of understanding) and letters of intent on Investment plans, joint ventures, and expansion of operations in the Philippines," Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a statement.
The Trade official said the deals include investments in agribusiness, manufacturing, shipbuilding, and many more.
In a speech he delivered before Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Duterte said the Philippines was grateful for Japan's commitment to pour in more investments to the country.
"In trade and investments, both sides agreed to ramp up further their economic activities. We welcome the increasing investments from Japan in the Philippines," Duterte said.
"We are ready to work with responsible companies, which we consider as our new partners for growth," he added.
Meanwhile, Lopez said he was able to hold a bilateral dialogue with his Japanese counterpart, Trade Minister Hiroshige Seko, from which they discussed several issues.
Lopez said they discussed the Philippine products’ improving access to Japan, as well as the lowering of tariff for the Philippines’ agri-products such as banana, pineapple, and mango.
Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol earlier said the Philippines would ask the Japanese government to impose zero tariffs on the country’s fruit exports, particularly in bananas, pineapples, and mangoes.
To date, Japan imposes a 2.5 percent tariff for Philippine bananas during the off-season and increases to up to 18 percent during the fruiting season.
The two Trade officials also tackled the industrial cooperation and the improvement of the supply chain for Japanese companies to benefit small and medium enterprises in the Philippines.
Lopez said they also talked about Japan’s support to reach a Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a proposed free trade deal between Southeast Asian nations and Australia, China, India, Japan, South Korea, and New Zealand. ■