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Japan Roots on Reduced Business Restrictions in PH

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TOKYO, Japan – President Duterte’s three-day state visit in Japan highlighted the foreign country’s advice to countermand business restrictions in the Philippines.

Philippine Economic Forum in Prince Park Tower highlighted the investment issue to countries’ delegations. Philippines-Japan Economic Cooperation Committee is present, which is established in 1974. The committee is composed of leading executives from Japan and Philippines, aiming to strengthen economic cooperation through mutual beneficial relations.

Japan-Philippines Economic Cooperation Committee Co-Chairman, Teruo Asa, stated that constitutional restrictions in doing business in the Philippines might hamper foreign direct investments (FDI) increase. Asada claimed that businesspersons are opting for changes in 1987 Philippine Constitution concerning businesses.

Japan is supporting the Philippines in its infrastructure developments. Recently, the country allocated 240 billion yen for the country’s Malolos-Manila-Cavite train system signed by Aquino administration. Moreover, National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) reported that Japan backs public-private partnership (PPP) program. The program is inclusive of transportation system improvements through LRT and six airports construction.

However, Asada still hopes to see the country provide ease in business investments, including in the 60-40 foreign ownership restriction.

Department of Finance Secretary, Carlos Dominguez, stated that Duterte Administration is already working on constitutional amendments concerning the issue.  Constitutional Assembly will be called for, which the President also supports in line to his federalism shift interest.

Asada added that Philippines is a great investment country for airports, roads, railways, and energy. If mutual respect and benefit is sustained between two countries, all goals can be attained.

ASEAN Japan Centre Secretary General, Masataka Fujita, cited Philippines as an investment-friendly country for cars and bicycle manufacturing.

Traders in Japan were presented with areas to invest in during the dialogue by Dominguez, NEDA Secretary General Alex Pernia, Department of Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, and Department of Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Pinol.

Pernia emphasized Duterte administration’s goal of maintaining steadfast relations with Japan. By 2022, Dominguez stated that the government aims to reduce poverty rate to 17 percent, down by 9.5 percent at present.

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