Seven Japanese trading houses investing $3.9b in Philippines

Sumitomo Farming Technology

Seven major Japanese trading houses are looking at investing up to $3.9 billion (198.5 billion) in different industries in the Philippines.

After his recent trip to Tokyo, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) secretary Ramon Lopez disclosed on Monday (March 13) that the Japanese companies who made the commitment (to invest in the country) were Mitsubishi Corp, Mitsui and Co Ltd, Sumitomo Corp, Itochu Corp, Marubeni Corp, Toyota Tsusho, and Sojitz.

Others present in the dialogue were Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade, and Philippine ambassador-designate Jose Laurel — who got together with representatives of Japanese companies with a broad range of business activities.

Lopez noted Marubeni is willing to invest in additional coal power plants worth ₱75 billion over the medium term; Itochu and Sumitomo (through Philippines subsidiaries Dole and Sumifru respectively) willing to invest an additional ₱12.9 billion through 2018 to expand their integrated farming projects in Mindanao; Sumitomo, Sojitz, and Mitsui jointly invested in Coral Bay Nickle Corp and Taganito High Pressure Acid Leaching (THPAL) Nickle Corp in Surigao and Palawan, at a cost of ₱80 billion.

Mitsubishi, Sojitz, Mitsui, and Toyota Tsusho, and, all the seven trading houses are supporting the Philippines’ Comprehensive Automotive Resurgence Strategy (CARS) Program created in 2015 to attract new investments, stimulate demand and effectively implement industry regulations that will revitalize the Philippine automotive industry, and develop the country as a regional automotive manufacturing hub.

All the Japanese firms also expressed interest in the Philippines’ so called “Golden Age of Infrastructure,” like the railway and subway projects, the Clark Green City project, the Expanded Port and RoRo Building programs, and the Airport Development projects.

The Japanese trading houses were also encouraged to use their expansive business systems to help in planning an efficient set of economic infrastructure, such as farm-to-market roads, bridges, seaports, airports, railways for cargo, passengers and RORO vessels, and service providers.

“The fundamentals are there in terms of a fast-growing economy, a 109-million population base, standing trade agreements, and a young, talented, and dedicated work force,” Lopez said. - Tomas S. Noda III of Deal Street Asia
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