Now is the time for Japan to do, expand business in Philippines

The Japanese business community was encouraged to take advantage of the Philippines’ growing economy and positive trade relationships during the Philippine-Japan Business Investment Forum held in Tokyo last week. “The Philippine economy is a ‘bright spot’ in the region,” Department of Trade and Industry Undersecretary for Industry Development Adrian Cristobal Jr. told Japanese businessmen present at the said forum.

“Now is the right time for our Japanese friends and partners to come and do business in the country, and for those all ready operating there, expand your business,” Undersecretary Cristobal said.

Cristobal briefed Japanese companies about the benefits the Philippines enjoys from trade preferences from the world’s largest importing countries under the Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). According to DTI the Philippines became a beneficiary to the European Union’s GSP-plus late last year, which granted the Philippines duty-free access to two-thirds of EU’s tariff lines. Furthermore, in June 2015, the United States reauthorized its GSP grant to the Philippines, which expired in mid-2013, providing the Philippines duty-free access to 3,500 US tariff lines.

Some Japanese firms have already taken advantage of these preferences. Shimano, a large Japanese bicycle manufacturer, invested ?¥3.5 billion to access the EU market through the Philippines.

“By setting up manufacturing facilities in the Philippines, Japanese companies may avail of the duty-free market access to the EU and the US, including products which are key export interests of Japan,” Cristobal added. “We are in fact the only country in ASEAN to enjoy this preferential treatment.”

“In addition to these product categories, exporters in footwear and textile, preserved fruits, pineapple juice, jams and jelly who are targeting the European market may find a wealth of opportunity in the Philippines’ GSP+ status,” he added.