THE Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), the country’s largest business organization, and its affiliate PCCI Japan, have agreed to focus on promoting business partnerships among small and medium industries as Japanese firms expand to regional markets other than China.
During an exchange of views between PCCI officials and a 12-man delegation from PCCI Japan at the PCCI head office in McKinley Hill in Fort Bonifacio, Donald G. Dee, PCCI chief operating officer, said that Japan is prodding its SMEs to look at regional and international markets as new drivers of corporate growth.
PCCI Japan is composed mainly of small and medium manufacturers in Japan interested in entering into business ventures with Philippine partners.
Kan Shigematgsu, chairman of PCCI Japan and head of the delegation, said the Japanese are heeding their government’s call to look for alternative areas for investments other than China.
Because Japan’s aging population could result in a shrinking domestic market and human resources, Japanese SMEs look forward to remaining viable by expanding demand and locating their facilities overseas such as in the Asean integrated market, Dee said.
However, the capacity of Japanese SMEs for international operations are limited as they have been oriented towards their own domestic markets and are only indirectly engaged in exports as suppliers of large Japanese multinationals and trading firms.
As a first step toward benefitting from Asean business opportunities, the Japanese SMEs could enter into joint ventures with Filipino partners by locating their manufacturing operations here.
Dee suggested that PCCI Japan invite Japanese SMEs to more forums and workshops in Japan about doing business in the Philippines, while PCCI will put together business delegations from various industries such as in manufacturing, banking, tourism, and infrastructure.
Shigematsu said that the Philippines is getting more attention from Japanese SMEs because of its record economic growth rate.
He said the number of investment seminars about the Philippines and research missions from Japan has dramatically increased, particularly as Japanese policies prompt SMEs to seek alternative areas for investments such as in Asean, which will formally integrate its markets beginning December 2015.
He added that retiring Japanese are looking for real estate investments consolidated with elderly and medical care facilities.
The PCCI renewed the 39-year affiliation of PCCI Japan with the signing of a memorandum of agreement. Signing for PCCI was Sergio Ortiz-Luis, Jr., honorary chairman and treasurer of PCCI, and Shigematsu, who is also managing director of the Philippine National Bank in Tokyo.
Among those who witnessed the signing were Crisanto Frianeza, PCCI secretary-general; Jose Alejandro, PCCI director; Apolinar Aure, chairman of the Philippines-Japan SME Council; and Kenichi Katakura, vice-chairman of PCCI Japan.