• Lopez: Japanese companies still interested in PH

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    Japanese businesses remain interested in the Philippines, a Cabinet official said in response to reports that foreign direct investments (FDI) from Japan had fallen by over 50 percent in the first five months of the year.

    Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez told reporters Bank of Tokyo’s 2016 purchase of a 20 percent stake in Security Bank had inflated last year’s results.

    Reports citing preliminary data from the Japan External Trade Organization said that Japanese investments in the Philippines were down 56.6 percent to $561 million as of May even as double-digit gains were recorded for neighbors such as Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore.

    Taking the Security Bank deal out of the equation, Lopez claimed that “FDI from Japan for the period January to April 2017 would show an increase to $82.32 million from $57.81 million the same period last year.”

    “Based on several business groups I met, there’s strong confidence on the current administration and the good growth momentum anchored on positive economic reforms and fundamentals,” he added.

    In 2016, the Philippines saw a 52.1 percent, to $2.31 billion, in Japanese FDI.

    Earlier this year, Lopez said that Japan’s major trading houses had expressed interest to invest up to P198.5 billion in various sectors seen essential in the economic development of the Philippines.

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