Tokyo will continue investing in the Philippines’ big-ticket projects, Japanese Ambassador Kazuhiko Koshikawa reaffirmed Thursday.
Speaking at the 49th Philippine Business Conference and Expo in Manila, the envoy said Japan “has always been and continues to be” the largest official development assistance (ODA) donor of the Philippines but there is still room for the partnership to grow further.
“Japan and the Philippines have very strong, solid economic ties,” he said.
“As we forge commitments in our priority industries, we want to assure you that Japan will continue to invest in big-ticket projects to help shape a thriving future for our fellow Filipinos and for our investors,” the envoy added.
A big chunk of Japanese investments in the country goes into infrastructure projects, among which are the North-South Commuter Railway (NSCR), Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP), LRT-1 Cavite Extension, LRT-2 East Extension and MRT-3 rehabilitation.
The Japanese envoy said there had been “renewed and growing interest” among Japanese investors in the Philippines, especially as both countries gradually recover from the impacts of the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic.
Koshikawa also pointed out that need to develop more disaster prevention-related infrastructure in the Philippines and provide a unique opportunity for Japanese companies to leverage their experience, know-how and technology.
Just as the Philippines doubles efforts in attracting investors, Koshikawa said the country should also “create a level-playing field for its business environment” that is as attractive or more attractive than its Southeast Asian neighbors.
Koshikawa said the CREATE Act of 2021, with all its good intentions, “has been cited as having made the business environment less competitive”.
“Fortunately, legislators are currently deliberating the CREATE MORE bill in the lower house which has the potential to resolve the taxation challenges being faced by export-oriented companies,” he said.
“We strongly hope that the proposed amendments will soon be realized,” he added.
Koshikawa warned that if the VAT-related provisions are not appropriately amended, “many companies, including that of the Japanese, may pull-out their businesses in the Philippines”.
The envoy said Japan has always been a top investor in the Philippines over the last decade, but compared to investments made through Singapore and the Netherlands, “Japanese companies have invested more than what is represented in the statistics”. By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora
Article courtesy of the Philippine News Agency