PH growth, investments leads in Tokyo

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) teamed up with the country’s economic managers to highlight the Philippines’ growth potential and widening investment opportunities during the Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) in Tokyo on June 21,2024. About 500 participants from Japan’s business community attended the briefing.

In line with the PEB theme, “PH On-the-Go: Fast-Tracking Economic Progress,” Special Assistant to the President (SAP) for Investment and Economic Affairs Frederick D. Go shared updates on the Philippines’ promising outlook and growth story, as well as progress on government’s plans toward building a resilient, inclusive, and sustainable economy.

SAP Go also cited the current administration’s programs and reform initiatives to further accelerate growth and foreign investments in the Philippines. He said, “There is no better time than now for investors to consider being part of the Philippine growth story.”

In his keynote speech, Finance Secretary Ralph G. Recto highlighted the strong and long-standing bilateral ties between the Philippines and Japan, tagging it as “the Philippines’ best friend in the region.”

The Finance Secretary further urged Japanese investors to take part in the country’s promising growth narrative as the country “has all the makings of a tiger economy.” He cited Japan as the largest investor in the Philippines’ economic zones, with a number of 806 locator companies to date.

Meanwhile, during the first panel session on “Shaping a Macroeconomic Landscape Conducive for Investments,” BSP Deputy Governor Francisco G. Dakila, Jr. shared the latest BSP forecasts on foreign direct investments (FDIs) and factors affecting the outlook.

The Deputy Governor noted that the BSP has upgraded its forecast for net FDI in its second quarter projection round for the Balance of Payments.

 

“We were initially projecting a USD9 billion net FDI position in the first quarter. We have upgraded that to USD9.5 billion. And actually, this is still very conservative, as much as in 2023, we have already achieved USD8.9 billion. That projection is premised on both push and pull considerations,” he explained.

The Deputy Governor noted that the BSP raised the net FDI outlook mainly on the back of positive global economic growth prospects and the Philippine government’s commitment to attaining its growth targets.

 From 2019 to February 2024, Japan was the second largest source of Philippine FDIs, contributing an average share of 28.9 percent to net equity other than reinvestment of earnings during the period, next to the 39.1 percent share from economies in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region.

“We are very happy that Japan is both recognizing the potential of the country and supporting Philippine economic growth,” said Deputy Governor Dakila.

Joining Deputy Governor Dakila as discussants for the first panel session were SAP Go, Finance Secretary Recto, Budget Secretary Amenah F. Pangandaman, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio M. Balisacan, and Managing Director Chiwoong Lee of Morgan Stanley MUFG Securities. The session was moderated by Nomura Philippines, Inc. President and Country Head Miguel Antonio L. Ozaeta.

The second panel session with the theme, “Navigating PH’s Investment Landscape: Where to Invest?” was led by Trade Secretary Alfredo E. Pascual.

Secretary Pascual highlighted existing government initiatives, such as the Strategic Investment Priority Plan (SIPP), the Build Better More program, the amendments to the Renewable Act, as well as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which offer numerous opportunities for Japanese firms to invest, partner with, or expand their existing investments in various sectors of the economy — from manufacturing to transportation to  healthcare as well as information and communications technology, among others. 

Joining Secretary Pascual as discussants for the second panel session were Transportation Secretary Jaime J. Bautista, Energy Undersecretary Felix William B. Fuentebella, and Bases Conversion and Development Authority President and Chief Executive Officer Joshua M. Bingcang. The session was moderated by BSP Communications and Investor Relations Lead Francisco Alcuaz, Jr.

Also present at the PEB was Philippine Ambassador to Japan Mylene J. Garcia-Albano.

Attendees to the briefing included Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group President and Chief Executive Officer Toru Nakashima; Tsuneishi Holdings Corporation Chairman Kenji Kawano; and Tsuneishi Shipbuilding Co. Ltd. Representative Director, Vice President and Executive Officer, and Chief Country Officer Hitoshi Kono.

The PEB provided a platform to update the Japanese business community on our country’s economic progress and the government’s initiatives to further attract investments. PR