PH, Japan strengthen ties on clean energy, trade

The Philippine delegation during their discussion with ST Engineering. (DTI handout)

By Francis Allan L. Angelo

The Philippines and Japan explored potential areas of cooperation in clean energy, trade, and investment during a meeting between Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual and Japanese Minister Saito Ken on June 6, 2024. The meeting took place on the sidelines of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) Ministerial Meeting.

“Building on the successful trilateral meeting between the United States, Japan, and the Philippines, we are eyeing more opportunities to strengthen our existing bilateral trade and economic partnership with Japan,” Pascual said in a press statement.

Discussions highlighted mutual interest in green transition opportunities, with Japan’s Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) expressing intent to support a waste-to-energy project in the Philippines.

Pascual also noted the success of the Philippine Freeports and Economic Zones Roadshow in Osaka, which showcased investment opportunities in sectors such as manufacturing, logistics, energy, and agriculture to Japanese businesses.

The conversation further covered Japan’s OPEN Ran initiative, aimed at bolstering digital capacities and establishing an ORAN academy in the Philippines. This initiative emerged as a key outcome from the recent Trilateral Ministerial Meeting involving the US, Japan, and the Philippines.

Under the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGI) Investment Accelerator, Japan reaffirmed its support for developing the Luzon Economic Corridor.

Additionally, both countries discussed collaboration in the critical minerals sector to ensure resilient and reliable global supply chains. The Philippines expressed a strong interest in joining the Critical Minerals Agreement to enhance cooperation in this area.

The Philippines also advocated for resuming the General Review of the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (PJEPA).

The review aims to expand economic ties beyond trade in goods, covering services trade, the digital economy, and sustainability.