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DTI Undersecretary Ponciano C. Manalo, Jr. during a light-hearted moment at the sidelines of the golf tournament organized for the members of the Japan Ship Machinery and Equipment Association (JSMEA) who visited the Philippines for a business mission on 5-8 March 2014

DTI Undersecretary for Trade and Investment Promotions, Hon. Ponciano C. Manalo, Jr received a high-level 22-man mission from the Japan Ship Machinery & Equipment Association (JSMEA), a non-profit body, organized by enterprises engaged in manufacturing, repair and sales of propulsion engines and auxiliary ship machinery, to the Philippines during their four-day visit in March 2014 which culminated with a DTI-JSMEA Golf Fellowship Event last March 7 at the Orchard Gold and Country Club in Dasmarinas, Cavite.

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Some of the top executives/owners from Japan’s top ship machinery and equipment companies pose with Undersecretary Ponciano C. Manalo Jr pose for posterity at breaktime during the recently concluded DTI-JSMEA Golf Outing event held at the Ochard Golf and Country Club last March 7.

The group was composed of owners and CEOs of Japanese marine enterprises engaged in the manufacture of pumps, air compressors, oil purifiers, heat exchangers, cargo and mooring winches, anchor windlasses, deck cranes, steering gears, navigational aids, fittings and accessories. JSMEA has 240 regular members and 56 organizations as supporting members.

The group’s visit to the Philippines also involved a briefing and lunch hosted by Director General Lilia de Lima at PEZA, and an ocular of the NYK-TDG Maritime Academy at Calamba, Laguna.

The golf fellowship event, the first of its kind, was organized to instill a feeling of comfort, safety and camaraderie among Japanese businessmen during an event they enjoy doing the most – golf. The opportunity to play with high government officials at the end of the tour was strategically planned, to keep businessmen relaxed after attending to the requisite affairs of reviewing the merits and possible problems of setting up a new business in the Philippines.

As a result of the mission, JSMEA decided to organize a major ship industry event in the Philippines on February 2015, which will involve the participation of ship owners, ship builders and equipment/parts manufacturers to discuss market development for ship products, machinery and equipment JSMEA’s decision to hold this event is a positive development to DTI’s localization program for the Ph ship building, repair and maintenance industry.

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Mr. Seichiro Chigusa, President of Nissin Refrigeration and Engineering hands over a token from the Japan Ship Machineries and Equipment Association (JSMEA) to PEZA Director General Lilia de Lima during the call of Japanese ship parts makers at the PEZA Headquarters last March 5.

JSMEA Exploratory Business Mission to the Philippines

As the Japanese government’s new comprehensive shipbuilding policy strongly endorses the establishment of strategic partnerships between the Japanese shipping industry and their counterparts in the region, in the areas of building supply chains, technology transfer and manufacturing, DTI’s mission is to push hard to see that the fruition of this strategy finds execution in Philippine shores.

Prospects for investments in the Philippines are favorable due to low-cost, abundant young and stable labor pool - pivotal factors in the Japanese investment decision. The country’s English language proficiency, impressive gross domestic product, and strong Japanese sentiment from local circles in the Philippines likewise constitute strong pull factors. While these are benefits that DTI can capitalize on in its investment promotion programs, there are concerns from Japanese investors that need to be addressed. These include the high cost of electricity, difficulty to procure raw materials from the domestic market and local law and order situation.

Even as the Nomura Report and the presence of the world’s largest ship builders jointly build on the country’s value proposition for attracting foreign investments in shipping, it is still deficient in the supply chain segment. The entry of members of JSMEA is therefore critical to finding a solution to this deficit.

In view of the foregoing, planning a strategic IT for the mission therefore was of paramount importance. The whole program for the visit was laid out to highlight the benefits and address the concerns.

The advantages of the labor force were reinforced by an arranged visit to an excellent and Japan MLIT-accredited maritime training academy - the NMTA. The competitive investment environment was articulated via an exclusive briefing by PEZA DG de Lima at their headquarters.