Japan to make Philippines their ASEAN hub

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Japan is sending a high-level trade delegation to the Philippines today to fortify the two countries’ economic relations and put flesh to Tokyo’s plan to make the country its manufacturing investment hub in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

The Japanese delegation, led by top trade officials from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (Meti), will be welcomed by the Department of Trade and Industry today to kick off “industrial cooperation dialogues” as a step toward realizing that goal.

“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 said the trade officials of Japan will be meeting with their Philippine counterparts in order to “synchronize policies” on areas such as small and medium enterprises, services and manufacturing.

Representatives from Toyota Motors’ mother unit in Japan will also be present to apprise trade officials on the trends in the global automotive industry and how the Philippines can position itself to take advantage of these developments.

The Philippines is likewise pushing for Japanese investors to look into the services and manufacturing sectors, Rodolfo said.

Existing Japanese firms, particularly those in the automotive industry, are bullish on the Philippines’s robust economic performance, with Mitsubishi Motors Philippines revealing early this year that a locally assembled model at its newly acquired plant in Laguna may be up for export.

Toyota Motor Philippines Corp., the top-selling auto firm among vehicle assemblers in the Philippines, also revealed plans late last year to expand the production capacity of its Sta. Rosa, Laguna plant.

According to the trade department’s Bureau of Export Trade Promotion, Japan was the No. 1 trading partner of the Philippines in terms of merchandise goods in 2013, with total value of trade in goods amounting to $16 billion.

From : ABS-CBNnews.com

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