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Ambassador Garcia-Albano Invites Japanese Investors To “Make It Happen” In The Philippines

Ambassador Mylene J. Garcia-Albano invited Japanese businesses and investors to choose the Philippines as their next investment destination during the seminar, “ASEAN and Philippine Economic Outlook: Investment Opportunities in the Philippines”, jointly organized by SMBC, PEZA, and RCBC on 5 March 2024 in Tokyo, Japan.

In her closing remarks, Ambassador Garcia-Albano highlighted the Philippines’ competitiveness as an investment destination, saying, “As ASEAN continues to grow as a pivotal economic bloc, the role of the Philippines within this dynamic market, and its bilateral relations with Japan, emerges as a beacon of potential and opportunity.” She also underscored future-oriented cooperation to achieve economic resilience, adding, “We are at an exciting juncture in our bilateral relations. The activation of new technologies, the rise of sustainable and green investments, and the emphasis on inclusive growth present opportunities for groundbreaking collaborations…through which Japanese technology, expertise, and capital can intertwine with the growth trajectories of the Philippines and ASEAN.”

The investment seminar featured keynote presentations by Mr. Cesar Purisima, SMBC Group Global Advisor and former Philippine Secretary of Finance, Mr. Tereso Panga, PEZA Director-General, and Mr. Michael Ricafort, RCBC Chief Economist. Mr. Tetsuro Imaeda, SMBC Deputy President and Ms. Elizabeth Coronel, RCBC Executive Vice President & Group Head of Corporate Banking, also delivered their opening remarks and message, respectively.

SMBC’s Mr. Purisima focused his presentation on the potential of ASEAN as a high-growth region in Asia given its production and consumption base. He outlined how ASEAN’s stability and centrality could be leveraged to maintain the path to economic prosperity amid competing geopolitical interests. In addition to ensuring food, energy and health security, among others, he highlighted opportunities in the digital economy, especially with the advent of artificial intelligence.

For his part, RCBC’s Mr. Ricafort’s presentation delved into the vibrant economic landscape of the Philippines, highlighting our country’s competitive advantages and growth potential. He also outlined how the Philippines and Japan are natural partners in the Philippines’ growth story, and encouraged them to grab the opportunity early on and ride the waves of the Philippines’ growth trajectory.

To better exemplify the Philippines’ commitment for lasting partnerships, PEZA Director-General Panga highlighted PEZA’s brand of service, underscoring the various fiscal and non-fiscal incentives locators currently enjoy in PEZA’s various ecozones, as well as emphasized efforts in improving the ease and cost of doing business.

Prior to the investment seminar, the Ambassador also engaged with SMBC, PEZA and RCBC officials during an executive meeting. SMBC expressed its appreciation for the PH government’s support and cooperation in its Philippine businesses and investments, including its recent partnership with RCBC where it holds a 20% stake. Both sides conveyed their commitment to continue the positive collaboration, taking advantage of SMBC’s solid network, technology-driven solutions, and business advisory expertise, particularly those exploring business expansions overseas.

The investment seminar was attended by over 150 participants, and was the first event jointly organized by PEZA, SMBC and RCBC under their MOU on Investment Promotion Partnership recently signed last 24 January 2024. The MOU promises to leverage synergies among the three institutions in supporting Japanese companies in their business expansion in the Philippine market.