THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said Philippine exports have the potential to expand significantly, with the country in a position to supply up to $107 billion worth of products that Japan currently buys from other sources.

DTI Export Marketing Bureau Director Bianca Pearl R. Sykimte, speaking at the 2023 Philippine Investment Business Seminar on Tuesday, said the range of potential exports to Japan represents about 250 trade lines.

“For these product lines, Japan only imports around $7 billion from the Philippines, but Japan’s total imports of the same products reach as high as $107 billion,” she said.

“The Philippines is among the top global suppliers of products being imported by Japan. Hence there is a wide scope for the Philippines and Japan to expand bilateral trade based on existing and projected demand and the existing supply capacities,” she said.

Citing data from the International Trade Center, Ms. Sykimte said that the sourcing opportunities will be largest in integrated circuits, ignition wiring sets and data processing machines.

Evariste M. Cagatan, DTI executive director of Investments Promotion Services, said the Philippines and Japanese companies could look into partnerships in renewable energy, electric vehicle (EV), green metals, agribusiness, IT services and healthcare industries. 

“The Philippines offers not only its growing local market for EVs as we are seriously moving toward adoption, but we are keen to establish the Philippines as a hub for EV manufacturing and assembly,” she said.

She said that the Philippines could be a great prospect for the EV manufacturing as it possesses abundant supply of green metals and talents used in the production of EVs.

“We have opportunities in the Philippine agribusiness industry as well. The country has established a strong global presence on key commodities for exports,” Ms. Cagatan said.

“We remain committed to modernizing these sectors and we are on the lookout for partners and investors that can aid us in the production and value-adding activities through advanced agricultural technology and logistics, for which Japan has expertise and strong capabilities,” she added.

Ms. Cagatan cited the need for exploring partnerships in cold chain technology.

“At present only 60% of the agriculture or food products produced in the country pass through cold chains and the gap in capacity, especially during peak months, is estimated to reach about 100,000 pallets,” she said.

“Hence, we likewise encourage investment from Japan in the establishment and operations of cold storage warehouses and operation of temperature-controlled logistics services, not only for food, but also for pharmaceuticals and plant food items,” she added. 

The Philippine Statistics Authority estimates that Japan was the Philippines’ second-largest trading partner in July.

The value of Philippine exports to Japan during the period amounted to $861.5 million, while imports from Japan totaled $865.03 million. — Justine Irish D. Tabile