MAKATI CITY, Feb. 17 - The trade chief advised Filipino businessmen to diversify their markets by engaging the global stage and to take advantage of growth opportunities with the country’s long-time trade partners like Japan.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez, in his remarks at the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Business Forum in Makati, recently (14 February) highlighted the longstanding economic, trade and investment partnership between the Philippines and Japan.

Japan is consistently one of the strongest trade partners of the Philippines, with a total amount of exports to USD 10.7 B, from January to November 2016 alone, according to Sec. Lopez.

The trade chief also said that Japan is also one of the biggest sources of imports amounting to USD 8.6 B from January to November 2016. Its Philippine investment figures continue to go up from USD 394 M in 2015 to USD 923 M in January to October 2016.

“The days wherein 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 Japata. Japanese companies related to electronics, manufacturing, and shipbuilding industries have also established a presence in the country. Out of 348 economic zones and IPAs, 30% of the companies operating in these areas are Japanese.

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

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

“There are a number of business opportunities available to future local companies who want to invest in Japan in the future,” he said. (DTI)