Recto Woos Japanese Investors to Tap Into Philippines’ Booming Economy

TOKYO – Philippine Secretary of Finance Ralph Recto urged Japanese investors to seize the investment opportunities in the country’s rapidly growing economy, emphasizing its robust growth and strong bilateral ties with Japan.

Recto, speaking at the Philippine Economic Briefing (PEB) at SMBC Hall in Marunouchi on June 21, underscored the historic ties and economic partnership between the two nations.

“If there is one thing that you should know about us Filipinos, it is that we honor long, reliable friendships. And Japan, I would say, is the Philippines’ best friend in the region,” he said.

He noted that Japan is the Philippines’ second-biggest trading partner and largest source of foreign direct investment inflows. It is also the top provider of concessional official development assistance, significantly contributing to infrastructure projects like Manila’s first-ever underground subway, slated for completion by 2029.

The Finance Chief outlined the robust economic growth of the Philippines, underscoring a GDP growth of 6.2 percent under the Marcos Jr. administration, and projections of joining the trillion-dollar economy club within a decade. According to him, by 2075, the Southeast Asian nation is expected to become the 14th largest economy in the world, closely following Japan.

“The Philippines is booming and has all the makings of a tiger economy. This makes us the most strategic safe haven for Japanese investors,” he stated. “We are an economic superstar in ASEAN.”

He detailed measures to manage inflation, which is projected to remain within the target range of 2 to 4 percent, and emphasized the country’s strong domestic demand driven by a youthful and dynamic labor force. “With a median age of only 25 years old, the Philippines enjoys a demographic sweet spot,” Recto said. “Given Japan’s aging population, averaging 48 years old, this presents a unique opportunity for our two countries to form a strong demographic partnership.”

Recto also highlighted the resilience of the Philippine economy, bolstered by substantial overseas remittances, increasing tourism receipts, and growing BPO revenues. He assured Japanese investors of the stability and strength of the nation’s banking system and prudent fiscal management by the government.

“The Philippines has a stable political environment and an investment landscape that has never been more open and liberalized,” he asserted.

He invited Japanese investors to participate in the country’s 185 flagship infrastructure projects through the new Public-Private Partnership Code and encouraged them to explore opportunities in the Luzon Economic Corridor and other sectors such as clean energy, mining, and digital technologies.

Recto concluded with a personal invitation to Japanese companies: “Explore the wide range of investment opportunities in the Philippines. Visit me at the Department of Finance for any concerns. I will do the hand-holding to make it easier and more profitable for you to invest in the Philippines.”

The briefing was attended by around 500 guests, including Japanese and Filipino business leaders, investors, and Philippine government officials. - Florenda Corpuz