President Rodrigo Roa Duterte is accompanied by Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez upon his arrival at the Imperial Hotel for the business forum on May 29, 2019. Also in the photo is Senator-elect Christopher Lawrence “Bong” Go. KARL NORMAN ALONZO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Tokyo, Japan—President Rodrigo Roa Duterte on Wednesday, May 29 asked Japanese investors to participate in the administration’s ambitious “Build Build Build” infrastructure program.

Speaking before Japanese and Filipino investors during the signing of agreements between Philippine and Japanese businesses, President Duterte expressed his elation over the strong intention of Japanese business entities to invest and expand their operations in the Philippines.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte delivers his speech during the business forum at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan on May 29, 2019. TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

He wanted them to join the infrastructure development in the Philippines through the Build Build Build program. The President’s tenure is considered the golden age of infrastructure development in the country.

“Further, we invite Japanese participation in our game-changing Build Build Build infrastructure program…which we aim to build inclusive and innovative industries and transform our economic archipelago into an integrated economic space,” the President told Japanese investors.

“With our sound macro-economic policies and [ongoing] reforms, we guarantee a competitive and corruption-free—and I repeat, we guarantee a competitive and corruption-free business climate, and a highly skilled and fast-learning workforce,” he said.

He noted that Standard and Poor’s (S&P) has upgraded the Philippines’ credit rating to BBB+ with a positive outlook, which is the highest rating in the country’s history. S&P’s recent upgrade is only a notch below the credit rating of A.

“Given all these, your investments are assured of protection and gains…I guarantee that,” he said. “And as a matter of fact, I place my honor in what we promised to our partners, especially the Japanese people.”

Assuring further Japanese businesses, he said his government is firmly committed to maintaining a stable and predictable environment for robust business partnerships between the Philippines and Japan.

Japan has been a major source of foreign direct investments for the Philippines and also its key trading partner, the second largest, in 2018.

Increased trade and investment flows are expected in the next few years, thanks to the strong momentum generated by decades of deep economic cooperation.

The country’s natural economic complementarities, accelerated by current efforts to lower trade barriers, are expected to sustain them.

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte poses for posterity with the officials from various companies during the business forum at the Imperial Hotel in Tokyo, Japan on May 29, 2019. Seated with the President are Public Works and Highways Secretary Mark Villar, Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, and Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez. TOTO LOZANO/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

Japan is also the first and only country with which the Philippines has forged a bilateral free trade agreement—the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement or JPEPA signed in 2006.

The bilateral trade agreement is currently under review, with the Philippine government hoping to upgrade it to a higher level of preferential arrangement mutually beneficial for both countries.

Among the Philippines’ priorities is addressing economic market access for Philippine agricultural products such as bananas, mangoes, and pineapples, as well as service suppliers in the construction of projects.

The Philippines is also working with the Japanese government to improve the current framework for the deployment of Filipino nurses and health workers.

The Philippines is a natural choice for Japanese companies looking for a manufacturing base in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region and aiming to serve the export markets of ASEAN, European Union (EU), and the Americas. These markets have preferential tariff arrangements with the Philippines.

Aside from manufacturing, the Philippines is also an ideal base for high-value knowledge process outsourcing (KPO) ventures that support global operations of Japanese companies.

The President arrived in Japan Tuesday to participate in Nikkei’s 25th International Conference on the Future of Asia. He will address the conference Friday.


Stay updated with news and information from the Presidential Communications Operations Office by visiting their website at https://pcoo.gov.ph.

Balikbayan Media Center
Balikbayan Media Center

Balikbayan Magazine's Media Center serves an audience in 60 countries and 101 cities throughout the World to ignite, drive, and fuel the economic development, progression, and modernisation of the Philippines. Our Media Center curates only the most critical, vital, useful, entertaining, and sometimes amusing information released from both the public and private sector. Our editorial team strongly believes that a well-rounded and well-informed society is a thriving society.

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