Philippines lures Japanese investment

The Philippine government, ASEAN-Japan Center and World Trade Center Tokyo Inc. co-organized a seminar on investment in the Philippines in Tokyo, with the venue packed with hundreds of Japanese business people, Tuesday.

At the beginning of the seminar, Ambassador of the Philippines Manuel Lopez expressed his gratitude to Japan for the aid that has been sent to the typhoon-battered areas of his country.

Following the ambassador, Laura Del Rosario, undersecretary for international economic relations, Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines, explained investment opportunities in the Philippines.

“We the Philippines take our close relationship with Japan very seriously,” Del Rosario said.

She also called for investment for the areas hit by the largest-ever typhoon this month.

“Sometimes disasters give us investment opportunities, attracting investment to improve infrastructure,” she said.

The seminar contained several presentations to attract investment to specific areas, such as Subic Bay Freeport and Clark Freeport.

Subic Bay Freeport is a special economic zone with an international airport and seaport. It also has the biggest shipbuilding facility in the Philippines. Subic Techno Park is a designated area for technology companies.

Japanese companies that have direct investments in the Subic Bay area include Hitachi Terminals Mechatronics Corp., Nidec Subic Philippines Corp. and Sanyo Denki Philippines Inc.

Clark Freeport, also a special economic zone, used to be the largest U.S. military base outside the U.S. mainland. The Clark area has every daily-life infrastructure such as schools, a hospital, a city hall and a shopping mall within a seven-minute walk.

Yokohama Tire Philippines Inc., Yokohama Rubber Co.’s Clark-based subsidiary, made a presentation on how it operates in the area. It is planning to increase its factory’s production capacity to 17 million units of tires a year, from 7 million in 2011. The number of employees will rise to 3,500 from 2,000 in the same time frame.

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