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Philippines and Japan Enhanced Partnership: Think Growth, Think Philippines

President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. delivering his remarks during the Philippine Business Opportunities Forum on 10 February 2023. Photo credit: RTVM Presidential Broadcast.

13 February 2023 – The Philippine Business Opportunities Forum, highlighted with the keynote speech of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., was attended by about a thousand delegates from Japan and the Philippines, held on 10 February 2023 at the Palace Hotel, in Tokyo, Japan.

Ambassador-designate Mylene J. Garcia-Albano opened the forum and stated that, “The Philippines and Japan see many areas of collaboration in pursuing economic development through enhancement of trade and investment, energy, tourism, culture, education, infrastructure development, healthcare, agriculture, disaster risk reduction and environmental protection, and information and communication technology, among others.”

Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry (METI) Yasutoshi Nishimura, Chairman and CEO of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Nobuhiko Sasaki, the Japan-Philippines Economic Cooperation Committee (JPECC) Co-Chairman Teruo Asada, ASEAN-Japan Centre (AJC) Secretary-General  Kunihiko Hirabayashi, and the Philippine Society of Japan, Inc. President Makoto Katsura also provided their welcome greetings.

The Philippine Economic team led by Department of Finance (DOF) Secretary Benjamin E. Diokno, and Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual provided keynote presentations on the economic performance and outlook of the Philippines, and the country’s infrastructure and industry.

Finance Secretary Diokno, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) Governor Felipe M. Medalla, Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman, Economic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan, Energy Undersecretary Felix William B. Fuentebella and Nomura Chief Economist Euben Paracuelles served as Panelists on Economic Performance and Outlook, moderated by Undersecretary Margaux Marie V. Salcedo of the Department of Budget and Management.

In another panel on infrastructure and industry, Trade and Industry Secretary Pascual, Public Works and Highways Secretary Manuel M. Bonoan, Tourism Secretary Maria Esperanza Christina Garcia Frasco, and Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista were the discussants, with BSP Managing Director Antonio Joselito G. Lambino II acting as moderator.

In his remarks, the President provided three (3) main reasons why Japanese companies/institutions should consider investing and growing their businesses in the Philippines: macroeconomic strength, enabling policy environment, and PH’s massive infrastructure development agenda.

The President concluded that, “with the efforts we have made towards maintaining a sound macroeconomic profile, providing business-enabling policies, and investing in big-ticket infrastructure projects, I hope we are sending the clear message that the Philippines is open for business and that the Philippines means business.”

The forum was organized by the Department and Trade and Industry, the Japan External Trade Organization, the Japan-Philippines Economic Cooperation Committee, the Embassy of the Philippines in Tokyo, ASEAN-Japan Centre, the Philippine Society of Japan, Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas and the Department of Finance, with the support of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, the Japan Commerce and Industry, Daiwa Securities Group, Inc., Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc., Mizuho Financial Group Inc., Nomura Holdings, Inc., and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, Inc.