Philippines, Japan ink economic, defense deals

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duterte_abeThe Philippines and Japan agreed to cooperate closer in various economic sectors and to work together in regional security initiatives that “promote peace and stability.”

In a news conference on October 26, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, after his first round of talks with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said he expected Japan to continue being an important part of maritime security in the region, including the South China Sea, where Manila and Beijing have overlapping claims.

He also said that Japan will contribute to Philippine maritime security and other projects totaling with a $210 million loan.

Duterte is on a three-day visit to Japan. After two rounds of talks with Abe, he is attending a banquet hosted by the Japanese leader. On October 27, he was set to meet Emperor Akihito. However, the scheduled call  was canceled following the death of Akihito’s 100-year-old uncle, Prince Mikasa, on the same day.

Duterte and Abe did not mention their security alliances with the US. But in a statement issued later, the two sides acknowledged the importance of “their network of friendship and alliances,” particularly one between them. Duterte reassured Abe that he has no intention to severe diplomatic ties with the US. He, however, reiterated that he wants US troops out of his country in the next two years and is willing to scrap defense pacts with longtime ally Washington “if necessary.”

Duterte has announced canceling planned joint military exercises with the US, and preparatory meetings for next year’s joint combat exercises between US and Filipino forces in the Philippines have been shrouded in uncertainty.

On the economic front, both countries agreed to agricultural investments of about $1 billion. The amount includes a biomass project in Negros Occidental, as well as agreements for the Philippines to export bananas, pineapples and avocados to Japan.

The banana deal involves the development of 7,000 hectares in banana farms that can produce up to 20 million boxes of bananas annually to be sent to Japan.

Japanese business groups further urged the Philippines to speed up the lifting of constitutional restrictions in doing business in the country, describing it as a major obstacle in increasing foreign direct investments. Currently, there is a 60-40 foreign ownership restrictions in Philippines-registered firms which the Japanese side says is holding investors back from getting engaged in the country.

With restriction eased, more Japanese firms would take part in the Philippines’ public-private partnership programme, which includes the construction of six airports and a number of rail transport projects aimed at improving the transportation system, as well as energy projects. Manufacturing firms from Japan would also invest more, particularly in the automotive sector, business groups said.

 

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

The Philippines and Japan agreed to cooperate closer in various economic sectors and to work together in regional security initiatives that “promote peace and stability.”

Reading Time: 2 minutes

duterte_abeThe Philippines and Japan agreed to cooperate closer in various economic sectors and to work together in regional security initiatives that “promote peace and stability.”

In a news conference on October 26, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, after his first round of talks with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, said he expected Japan to continue being an important part of maritime security in the region, including the South China Sea, where Manila and Beijing have overlapping claims.

He also said that Japan will contribute to Philippine maritime security and other projects totaling with a $210 million loan.

Duterte is on a three-day visit to Japan. After two rounds of talks with Abe, he is attending a banquet hosted by the Japanese leader. On October 27, he was set to meet Emperor Akihito. However, the scheduled call  was canceled following the death of Akihito’s 100-year-old uncle, Prince Mikasa, on the same day.

Duterte and Abe did not mention their security alliances with the US. But in a statement issued later, the two sides acknowledged the importance of “their network of friendship and alliances,” particularly one between them. Duterte reassured Abe that he has no intention to severe diplomatic ties with the US. He, however, reiterated that he wants US troops out of his country in the next two years and is willing to scrap defense pacts with longtime ally Washington “if necessary.”

Duterte has announced canceling planned joint military exercises with the US, and preparatory meetings for next year’s joint combat exercises between US and Filipino forces in the Philippines have been shrouded in uncertainty.

On the economic front, both countries agreed to agricultural investments of about $1 billion. The amount includes a biomass project in Negros Occidental, as well as agreements for the Philippines to export bananas, pineapples and avocados to Japan.

The banana deal involves the development of 7,000 hectares in banana farms that can produce up to 20 million boxes of bananas annually to be sent to Japan.

Japanese business groups further urged the Philippines to speed up the lifting of constitutional restrictions in doing business in the country, describing it as a major obstacle in increasing foreign direct investments. Currently, there is a 60-40 foreign ownership restrictions in Philippines-registered firms which the Japanese side says is holding investors back from getting engaged in the country.

With restriction eased, more Japanese firms would take part in the Philippines’ public-private partnership programme, which includes the construction of six airports and a number of rail transport projects aimed at improving the transportation system, as well as energy projects. Manufacturing firms from Japan would also invest more, particularly in the automotive sector, business groups said.

 

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