PEZA boosts Japanese business confidence in PHL

The Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) has taken proactive steps to fortify Japanese business interests in the Philippines, following a strategic Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed last January 2024.

This collaboration, involving PEZA, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), and Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC), was further solidified through an Economic Seminar hosted by SMBC in Tokyo.

PEZA Director General Tereso O. Panga keynoted the gathering designed to enlighten Japanese corporate clients on lucrative investment opportunities within the Philippine economic zones.

The all-Filipino speaker lineup included the Ambassador of the Philippines to Japan, H.E. Mylene De Joya Garcia-Albano, former Trade and Industry and Finance Secretary and now SMBC Global Advisor Cesar Purisima, and RCBC Chief Economist Michael Montero.

The seminar attracted approximately 140 attendees, during which DG Panga presented an enlightening overview of PEZA and its ecozones, shedding light on why these locations are prime with their supportive business ecosystem for potential investors.

PEZA’s one-stop-shop functionality and the country’s positioning as a desirable manufacturing hub were central to the discourse, reinforcing the Philippines’ appeal to Japanese companies.

In conjunction with the forum, PEZA engaged in several business-to-business meetings in Tokyo and Shizuoka with prominent industry players, including Tsuneishi, FCC, SIIX Corporation, and IMES, as well as the Japanese MSME TOM’S Manufacturing.

Tsuneishi, a veteran PEZA investor, declared its fifth expansion phase, entailing significant projects such as a new wood pelletizing venture and the construction of the world’s first methanol-fueled TEU container carriers.

Reflecting on its 29-year journey in the Philippines, Tsuneishi underscored its growth from a modest 25-hectare site to a sprawling 170-hectare area, now employing about 10,000 direct and subcontracted workers—a substantial increase from the initial 300.

During discussions with SIIX Co., Ltd., President Koji Yanase highlighted the company’s intent to manufacture its patented conductive ink in the Philippines, emphasizing the country’s central role in their expansion strategy.

SIIX, a global top-20 Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) provider, first established ink production operations in the Philippines and has been conducting business in the country since 1957.

FCC Co., Ltd., represented by President Yoshitaka Saito, also communicated ambitious growth plans for its Philippine operations, including the manufacturing of clutches for Honda Click 125, production of paper ceramics, and new technological advancements in scooter assembly lines.

Furthermore, FCC expressed its intention to contribute to the circular economy in the Philippines with initiatives such as solid oxide fuel cells (SOFC) for water filtration and solid biomass fuel production. With a dominating presence in the global motorcycle clutch market, FCC’s expansion signifies confidence in the Philippines’ economic climate.

As of now, Japan stands as PEZA’s top investor, amassing a 28% share in total investments. This robust partnership has resulted in PHP 798 billion in capital, $16.3 billion in exports, and the creation of 342,845 direct jobs across 877 PEZA-registered business enterprises (RBE).