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Japan investment pledges mostly from electronics companies


PRESIDENT Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. on Thursday obtained investment pledges from Japanese electronics companies, while also receiving assurances from shipping companies of more hiring of seafarers from the Philippines, the Palace said.

The Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said the pledges were worth “billions of pesos” from Japanese companies producing semiconductors and other electronic products with the potential for generating more than 10,000 jobs.

The final tally of investment commitments will be announced on Feb. 10 “during the signing of the letters of intent by the Japanese companies,” the PCO said in a statement.

Mr. Marcos had a roundtable meeting with semiconductor and electronics companies looking to expand their operations in the Philippines.

Among those present at the meeting were representatives of Japan Aviation Electronics Industry, Ltd., Yazaki Corp., Yokowo Manufacturing of the Philippines, Sumitomo Electric Industries, Ltd., Brother Industries, Ltd., IBIDEN Co., Ltd., Seiko Epson Corp., NIDEC-SHIMPO Corp., and TDK Corp.

In his remarks, the President said the Philippines aspires to achieve the “status of a regional hub for printers, wiring harnesses, and other electronic goods.”

“We consider your operations significant. You are a prime generator of jobs,” he said. “You provide support for sectors critical to industrial development and you carry with you the promise to create value through innovation in global manufacturing around the world.”

Mr. Marcos said Philippine advantages like the availability of engineers, an entrenched network of Japanese companies, and the thriving information technology services sector “offers promise for future expansion.”

“With the automotive industry moving toward electric vehicles and autonomous driving and the printer industry facing challenges related to digitalization and automation, we hope to see you recruit our talented human resources in your research and development activities,” he said.

In 2021, the Philippines was the fourth-largest exporter of wiring harness in the world after Mexico, China, and Romania, according to the Palace. The Philippines was also one of the lowest-cost producers of wiring harnesses.

“This trend has been building over a 20-year period where wiring harness exports from 2001 to 2021 grew at a steady pace of 9% per year.”

Mr. Marcos arrived in Japan on Wednesday for a five-day visit.

The President also met with Japanese shipping companies on Thursday, who assured that they will continue to hire Filipino seafarers, the Palace said in a separate statement.

“Filipino seafarers are essential to the Japanese shipping industry. And so, we sincerely and strongly hope that they will continue to be a steady supply of professional and well-trained Filipino seafarers to work alongside us,” Junichiro Ikeda, president of the Japanese Shipowners’ Association and chairman of the Mitsui OSK Lines, was quoted as saying to Mr. Marcos at the meeting.

“We also expect that quality standard of the Filipino seafarers to continue to improve, as the Philippine government continues to work hard to achieve this.”

The shipowners sought Mr. Marcos’ “help and assurance” in obtaining access to a steady supply of seafarers, the Palace said.

Mr. Marcos said the administration will continue to work closely with the shippers to ensure a ready pool of seafarers.

“The JSA has the assurance of the Philippine government that we will continue to work together as a team, as partners, in ensuring that your requirements for more seafarers shall be met because, clearly, you care for them very much and they are in good hands while under your employment.”

The President noted the investments of Japanese shipowners in maritime training schools in Laguna and Bataan, which produce 1,200 cadets per school each year.

“About 75% of the crews of Japanese ocean-going vessels is composed of Filipino seafarers and an average of 6,600 Filipino seafarers per year is deployed to vessels with the Japanese Flag of Registry in the past 10 years,” the Palace said. — Kyle Aristophere T. Atienza

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