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DTI's Lopez to businessmen: Diversify your market

Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez, at right. means BUSINESS

MANILA - Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez suggested earlier this week that Filipino businessmen should diversify their markets by engaging the global stage and take advantage of growth opportunities with the country's long time trade partners.

Lopez, in remarks on February 14 at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Business Forum in Makati, highlighted the longstanding economic, trade and investment partnership of the Philippines and Japan.

Japan, he noted, is consistently one of the strongest trade partners of the Philippines, with exports amounting to USD 10.7 billion from January to November 2016 alone.

He also said that Japan is one of the biggest sources of imports, amounting to USD 8.6 billion during that same period.

In turn, Philippine investment figures continue to go up from USD 394 million in 2015 to USD 923 M in the first 10 months of 2016.

"The days where developing countries like the Philippines were primarily the recipient of foreign direct investments (FDIs) are in the past, and a country like ours can now become an investor to both developed and developing countries," Sec. Lopez said, adding that in view of today's economic integration, trade and investment flows should now work both ways.

He cited that a number of top Japanese companies have already invested and set up shop in the Philippines, including Toshiba, Canon, Epson, and Toyota.

Japanese companies in the electronics, manufacturing and shipbuilding industries have also established presence in the country.

Out of 348 economic zones and IPAs, 30% of the companies operating in these areas are Japanese.

"There are a number of business opportunities available to future local companies who want to invest in Japan in the future," he said.

Sec. Lopez identified some Philippine companies that have established commercial presence in Japan. From the banking sector are Philippine National Bank, Metrobank, Land Bank, and Banco de Oro. From the technology sector: Imperium Technology, Ayala Systems Technology, Advanced World Systems, Alliance Software, WeServ Systems, and Integrated Micro-electronics Inc.-Japan.

Sec. Lopez also cited companies such as the Philippine Airlines, ABS-CBN, and Ayala Land, as well as remittance companies, that render service to Filipinos living in Japan.