Japanese firms urged to invest in auto sector

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The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) offered the automotive sector to a Japanese delegation that visited recently in search of investment opportunities in the Philippines.

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Some 29 Japanese businessmen, led by the Japan External Trade Organization (Jetro), staged a four-day mission to explore investment opportunities. They were said to be particularly interested in the manufacturing and services sectors.

Jetro Executive Vice President Tatsuhiro Shindo and the rest of the delegation paid Trade Secretary Adrian Cristobal Jr. a courtesy call and attended a briefing with the Board of Investments (BOI).

Cristobal said Jetro had submitted proposals to President Benigno Aquino 3rd in June 2015, when Chairman Hiroyuki Ishige presented steps to promote the Philippines’ trade and investment relations with Japan.

The DTI chief said the trade mission was timely as the government was now working on revving up Philippine manufacturing through the Manufacturing Resurgence Program (MRP).

The MRP aims to rebuild the existing capacity of industries, strengthen new ones, and maintain their competitiveness.

Cristobal said a lot of Japanese automakers were attracted to government’s incentive scheme or the Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program.

The government has set aside P27 billion for the CARS Program in the next six years, providing P9 billion in incentives each for three qualified model units to be mass produced under the program.

Other than the auto segment, Cristobal assured Jetro and the Japanese delegation of continued support and assistance to their ventures in the Philippines, regardless of the industries they will invest in.

Japan is the country’s second top performing investment partner, with commitments of $338.88 million or 14.3 percent of the total approved by the Investment Promotion Agency (IPA) in January to September 2015.

In 2014, Japan was the country’s top source of IPA-approved foreign investment with pledges totaling $803.24 million.

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