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Tokyo trip expected to unlock $2-b deals

TRADE Secretary Ramon Lopez said Monday that the Philippines and Japan are set to sign 12 business-to-business deals worth $2 billion during the upcoming three-day official visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to Tokyo.

On the sidelines of the launch of e-Presyo in Makati City, Lopez said some 200 businessmen will join President Rodrigo Duterte in his official visit to Japan that runs from Tuesday to Thursday.

The Cabinet member added that most of these deals between Filipino and Japanese firms are in manufacturing and agriculture.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez
“There’s buying commitment from a Japanese company to import fruits from the Philippines,” Lopez said.

He said that during the visit, Manila and Tokyo are also expected to work on official development assistance (ODA) supporting training, technical cooperation as well as research and development.

Duterte’s visit to Japan follows his four-day state visit to China last week, where he gained some $24 billion worth of deals.

The new administration is pushing for strengthening ties with Asian neighbors.

President Duterte’s recent official trips include those in Laos, Indonesia, and Brunei Darussalam. 

The Palace said Monday the country’s maritime dispute over the South China Sea was not part of the initial agenda of the three-day visit, which would focus on economic and defense cooperation.

“The main agenda will not be political but economic so if it’s [South China Sea issue] referred to, it will be on the sidelines,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abella said.

“President Duterte will be discussing security, economic and defense issues with the prime minister during the three-day trip that is seen to continue the Philippines’ efforts to bolster strategic partnerships with its Asian neighbors. [The] President also plans to observe the Japanese shipbuilding process as maritime cooperation continues to prosper,” he added.

Upon his arrival from a four-day state visit in China, the President said that maritime issues would be among the topics to be discussed with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe when he visits Tokyo this week, reiterating his respect for the stand of Japanese on its maritime disputes with the China.

Abe faces a delicate task to promote the closely aligned security goals of Tokyo and Washington without pushing Duterte deeper into Beijing’s embrace.

Japan has disputes with China over the Senkaku islands in the East China Sea. The Philippines, on the other hand, has been granted its claims by the UN-backed arbitral tribunal against China’s over the South China Sea.

Abe will be signing an agreement to supply two new patrol boats to the Philippines adding up to the vessels and aircraft Japan has already provided to help keep tabs on activity in the South China Sea.

Duterte will be also meeting with Japanese car manufacturers Mitsubishi Motors and Toyota Motor Corp. to seek further investments in the Philippines.

Duterte concludes his trip on Thursday with a call on Japan’s Emperor Akihito. With PNA

Topics: Tokyo trip , Japan , business deals , Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez
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