President Rodrigo Duterte’s trip to Japan is proving to be productive as 26 agreements that could bring in P289-billion worth of investments were signed this week.
The deals were read out by Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez during a business forum on Wednesday, May 29, at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo where Duterte was the event’s guest of honor. It was attended by Filipino and Japanese businessmen, as well.
Seven of the 26 agreements are deals with businesses or business-related entities while the remaining 19 are letters of intent in which Filipino and Japanese companies express their interest in investing in each other.
They are expected to generate 82,737 jobs if followed through with actual investments, according to Lopez.
Among the agreements signed was a Memorandum of Cooperation between the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry and Japan External Trade Organization, intended to expand cooperation on investment promotion activities between the two countries.
Meanwhile, one of the Letters of Intent was an LOI from Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd talking about building a facility in the Philippines for wiring harness and related products to be exported to Japan and North America.
Another was an LOI from Mitsubishi Motors Corporation talking about expanding investment to support production of completed vehicles in the Philippines.
‘Kill that problem’
Duterte vowed to “kill” any problems that the Japanese businessmen may encounter with their ventures in the Philippines.
“I will talk to you and just let me know what your problem is and we will kill that problem,” he said Wednesday at the Imperial Hotel.
He also garnered applause when he promised to fight government corruption and red tape.
“May I just assure you, during my time, I said, there will be no corruption and every Japanese investor in my country, however small or however big, I can assure you that if there’s any complaint regarding hindrances, obstruction, or outright corruption, let me know,” Duterte said.
The president also called for an enhanced version of the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (PJEPA). It is the Philippines’ only bilateral free trade agreement, last reviewed in May 2016 and will be up for another review in 2021.
“We are currently reviewing this agreement and we hope to upgrade it to a higher level of preferential arrangement that is mutually beneficial to our countries,” he said.