THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it is inviting Japanese companies to invest in the Philippine electric vehicle (EV) industry and sustainable industries.

Trade Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said the Philippines is positioning itself as a regional manufacturing hub for EVs and EV parts in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).  

“We recognize that the future of transportation will be autonomous, connected, electric, and shared,” Mr. Lopez said during the recent virtual Philippine Economic Briefing organized by the Philippine Embassy in Tokyo, the ASEAN Japan Centre, and the DTI.  

“The country’s EV ecosystem is composed of 54 manufacturers and importers, including Japanese parts manufacturers and dealers like Mitsubishi, Toyota Tsusho, Hitachi Metals, and Yazaki,” he added.

Mr. Lopez said Japanesecompanies should help develop green metals such as nickel, copper, and cobalt.

“Around 9 million hectares or 30% of the country’s total land area has mineral potential, and there is opportunity to develop and responsibly utilize untapped vast mineral resources that could be used for downstream industries, such as EV battery manufacturing and support wiring harness production,” Mr. Lopez said.

“The Philippines is one of the world’s richly endowed countries in terms of mineral resources,” he added.

Mr. Lopez said prospective and current Japanese investors can also venture into other businesses such as electronics and semiconductors, medical devices, automotive, aerospace, agribusiness, and construction.  

According to the DTI, Japan was the Philippines’ second-largest trading partner, third-largest export market, and second-largest source of imports in the nine months to September.

“Total trade between the two countries has significantly improved by 20% amounting to $16.14 billion or 1.84 trillion yen as compared to the same period in 2020,” the DTI said.  

It added that Japan is among the Philippines’ top five sources of investment pledges.  

“For the first semester of 2021, Japan ranked as the second-largest source of investment promotion agencies (IPA)-approved investments with commitments amounting to $235.8 million or 27.15 billion yen, a significant 563% increase from approved investments during the same period in 2020,” the DTI said. — Revin Mikhael D. Ochave