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PH expands economic collaboration with Japan

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By Victoria “NIKE” De Dios

Taking advantage of the strong relationship with Japan, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Fred Pascual met with his counterpart, Minister Saito Ken of Japan, on the sidelines of the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) Ministerial Meeting on June 6. Both ministers discussed potential areas of cooperation, particularly in clean energy, trade, and investment.

“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,” Secretary Pascual said.

During the discussion, the two countries welcomed opportunities for a green transition. In the meeting, Japan conveyed the interest of the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) to participate in the development of a waste-to-energy project that would contribute to the Philippines’ efforts towards a clean energy transition.

For his part, Secretary Pascual recognized the successful Philippine Freeports and Economic Zones Roadshow in Osaka, which showcased the Philippines’ investment potential to Japanese businesses in sectors such as manufacturing, logistics, energy, and agriculture.

Highlighting the outcomes of the Trilateral Ministerial Meeting with the US and Japan, the DTI chief expressed openness to the OPEN Ran initiative of Japan, which presents their plans to strengthen digital capacities and establish an ORAN academy in the country.

Under the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGI) Investment Accelerator, Japan also reaffirmed its support for the development of the Luzon Economic Corridor, which is expected to boost growth in key industries such as electronics, semiconductors, and clean energy.

Further, both countries also discussed the potential for collaboration in the critical minerals sector, particularly in developing resilient and reliable global supply chains. The Philippines expressed its strong interest in joining the Critical Minerals Agreement, which would further strengthen cooperation in this area.

The Philippines also pushed for the resumption of the General Review of the Philippines-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement (PJEPA), emphasizing that the agreement aims to expand economic ties beyond trade in goods, covering areas like services trade, digital economy, and sustainability.

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