Thursday, September 29, 2011

Business World: Investments, stronger ties touted as Aquino ends trip

PRESIDENT Benigno S.C. Aquino III returned yesterday evening from a three-day working visit to Japan, which he claimed had resulted in over a billion dollars in new investments and a strengthened “strategic partnership”.

“In just three days, we took part in 36 meetings and other engagements where we were able to secure $1.4 billion in assured investments,” Mr. Aquino said upon his arrival.

The funds, he noted, would go to energy, manufacturing, and services, adding that investors were also told that the Philippine business environment was “more open, fairer and freer”.

The “strategic partnership,” meanwhile, covers areas such as bilateral trade, public-private partnerships (PPP) and even the South China sea dispute.

Following a meeting on Tuesday, Mr. Aquino and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda issued a statement that they wanted stronger ties aimed at fostering “robust trade, investments and development cooperation.”

Both leaders committed to the “smooth implementation and operation” of the Japan-Philippines Economic Partnership Agreement, in particular reviewing Article 161 on the promotion of the movement of natural persons.

Consultations will be continued, they said, “in order to further improve the current situation including the smooth dispatch and acceptance of Filipino candidates for qualified nurses and certified careworkers.”

Mr. Aquino pitched his government’s PPP program, to which Mr. Noda replied that a mission would be sent to Manila in March next year.

Japan also committed to support the improvement of the investment environment through the “active utilization of official development assistance”.

Messrs. Aquino and Noda also committed to “continuing dialogues with Japanese business groups, to further promote investment.” The “timely conclusion” of the Philippines’ adoption of the Japanese Terrestrial Digital TV Broadcasting standard was also pledged.

Finally, Japan supported the Philippine position that maritime disputes involving the South China Sea be resolved peacefully. Both leaders expressed hope “for the early formulation of a legally-binding Code of Conduct that is consistent with established international law.” – JPDP, dated 29 September 2011, 12:21 AM.

Source: Business World

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