THE Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said it heard proposals for potential investments worth $215 million from Japanese companies at the Philippine-Japan Business Investment Forum.

In a statement Monday, DTI said the proposals emerged over the course of eight investment meetings in Japan and cover the infrastructure, railways, electric vehicle (EV) public transport systems, retail, manufacturing, logistics, warehousing, factory automation, construction, and real estate sectors.

Proposals were heard from MOS Food Services, Inc., which operates Japan’s second-largest burger chain MOS Burger, which hopes to open in the Philippines in March, Assemblepoint Co. Ltd., which is developing a smart four-wheel electric vehicle, and Satelight, Inc., an animation studio looking into outsourcing in the Philippines.

Sumitomo Wiring System Ltd. presented two expansion projects for it Philippine unit covering wire harnesses — a key component in the auto parts industry — as well as other parts. Marubeni Corp. made a presentation about its joint venture project with Metro Pacific Investment Corp. and Japan’s LSI Medience Corp. to build 30 primary care clinics and 10 cancer centers, and install five centralized laboratory testing hubs in key cities.

“With Japan and the Philippines sharing (complementary) natural and human resources, technology and innovation will play a key role in helping us achieve the full potential of our economic partnership with Japan,” Tokyo-based Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC) Commercial Counsellor Dita Angara-Mathay said.

Trade Undersecretary Rafaelita M. Aldaba made a presentation on the Philippines’ Inclusive Innovation Industrial Strategy (i3S) for Philippine-Japan collaboration.

“In the context of these trade and investment trends between the Philippines and Japan along with global developments such as the entry of new technologies, we feel the need to focus our efforts on innovation to address the opportunities and challenges arising from Industry 4.0 but also from increasing global competition, the US-China trade war, and regional economic integration,” she said.

She said that the Philippines, through i3S, is developing its innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem through strong collaboration among government, universities, and industry. The Philippines is also using new technology to improve competitiveness, reducing barriers to investment, and linking manufacturing with agriculture and industry to expand the country’s footprint in the global value chain.

“There are many potential opportunities for the Philippines and Japan to deepen trade and investment partnership through innovation,” Ms. Aldaba said.

“I am delighted that the companies I met during this trip are making significant contributions in the areas of creating new industries, products and leapfrogging to Industry 4.0 by adopting smart manufacturing to transform our industries.”

DTI plans to reach out to more Japanese companies in the electric vehicle and parts sectors, advanced manufacturing, factory automation, mobility solutions, and smart cities. — Jenina P. Ibañez