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Duterte’s State Visit to Japan May Yield Deals Worth Billions of Dollars

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TOKYO, Japan – The Philippine President’s (Rodrigo Roa Duterte) meeting with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to yield multibillion worth of deals.

President Duterte’s 3-day visit to Japan will focus on power and agriculture deals. High-impact projects in infrastructure and transportation into the country will also be discussed. President Duterte added that he will converse with Prime Minister Abe concerning maritime defense cooperation prior his departure from the Philippines.

Philippines’ Secretary of Department of Energy, Alfonso Cusi, stated Yazaki Torres, Osaka Gas, and JFE Engineering conveyed interest in investing in the country.

Biomass project proposed by JFE Engineering will cost around $373.25 million. Billions of dollars are also anticipated from the Osaka Gas deal.

Japan’s largest fruit distributor, Farmind Corporation, and the government will sign an agreement today to be witnessed by President Duterte. The deal enclosed banana exports from Manila to Japan, which is worth $220 million for 20 million boxes. The agreement will consist less than 30 percent of Japan’s market for bananas, which is equivalent to 70 million boxes.

Farmind President and CEO, Tatsuo Horiuchi, stated that Japan considered Philippines as a major supplier of banana due to their country’s lack of the fruit’s source. Seventy percent of Japan’s bananas are from the Philippines, and the rest are from Central America.

Banana tariff rates in Japan range between 8.5 to 18.5 percent. President Duterte stated he will raise the lifting of 18 percent tariff on Philippine bananas to Prime Minister Abe. The President calls for zero tariffs and officials are supportive of this, President Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez claimed.

By lifting the 18 percent tariff, which is only imposed on the Philippines, the country will have a great competition with other countries.

Providing livelihood to former rebels will be easier with the deal. The Duterte administration pushes to allow the returnees to work from their own farms. This will support banana tapping from Davao and other Mindanao areas.

Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Program’s beneficiaries will also be encouraged to use their land for banana plantations.

The boost in the agricultural sector is anticipated after the deal, which is just one of the goals in the state visit. Vulnerability solutions, economic growth, Mindanao development, and peace agreements are also aimed.

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