MANILA, Philippines – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations and Japan must strengthen further their ties so that the ASEAN can realize its full potentials in the services industry in light of its economic integration in 2015.
In particular, the Philippines is projected to have a per capita gross domestic product (GDP) of $3000 by 2016, according to an International Monetary Fund (IMF) study.
As such, the purchase of durable goods and consumption of services will change, not only for the country, but for the ASEAN region, said Hideyuki Ohashi, deputy director general for IT strategy, commerce, and information policy bureau of the Japan Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.
“Now is the time for Japan to offer our Japanese services industry know-how,” Ohashi said at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) international symposium focused on the services industry held Friday, October 24.
Ohashi added that ASEAN not only an attractive market with a growing population but is also “culturally close” to Japan. Thus, it presents an opportunity to help refine businesses in the region.
The ASEAN is now home to a growing number of Japanese businesses, like convenience stores and restaurants, educational institutions, and retail establishments.
But Ohashi added that the development of the services industry must be customized according to local needs. The Japanese services industry is characterized by attention to detail, quick response, and precision, all which could be taught to ASEAN businesses.
As Japan will host the Olympics in 2020, Ohashi sees the potential of collaborating with ASEAN to provide human resource services for the upcoming event.
JETRO chairman Hiroyuki Ishige said there are high expectations for ASEAN as a consumer market, and that manufacturing and services industries are “inseparable forces” for an economy.
“The consumption in ASEAN surpassed Japan as a whole. The middle class has been growing substantially [thus creating new demand] for services, and [that’s] a great advantage to Japan,” Ishige said.
Toshiyuki Shiga, vice chairman of the Japan Association of Corporate Executives said they are also looking into promoting investments from Japan to ASEAN in creating momentum for small and medium enterprises, apart from large manufacturing models. – Rappler.com