MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is yet to fully benefit from its trade partnership with Japan.
This is according to Donald Dee, the vice chairman of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Speaking at a forum on the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (PJEPA) on Thursday, March 21, Dee said that Japanese investments in the Philippines are not maturing beyond the approval stage because of competition from other ASEAN countries such as Indonesia and Thailand.
Japan is the country’s second largest market behind the United States. It has also been the Philippines’ biggest source of investment since 2009. According to government statistics, approved investments from Japan stood at P22.35 billion for the first half of 2012.
Dee said that the country needs to do a lot more, particularly when it comes to boosting competitiveness and crafting consistent export policies, to lure in more investments from Japan. He also identified high utility costs, the state of the country’s infrastructure and the inconsistency of investment policies as major deterrents against Japanese investment.
The PJEPA is an economic cooperation agreement ratified in 2008. The deal is meant to open bigger markets and opportunities for both sides.
Dee said that the PJEPA was successful in boosting bilateral trade and exports between the two countries. He pointed to the fact that Japanese tourists now consider the Philippines as their third preferred destination as proof of his assessment.
Dee identified the sectors of manufacturing, tourism, banking and telecommunications as possible beneficiaries of heightened Philippine-Japanese cooperation. – Rappler.com