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More Japanese investments pour in

Trade and Industry Sec. Ramon Lopez announced that various infrastructure commitments with Taiheiyo Cement Group are underway to support the growing demand in the country’s housing, commercial, and infrastructure development sectors, especially with the massive “Build, Build, Build” program.

The agreement was part of the Letter of Intent that DTI and Taiheiyo, represented by president and representative director Shuji Fukuda, signed during President Duterte’s official working visit in Tokyo last October 2017.

The LoI, which pledged to increase Taiheiyo’s production capacity, included expanding shipping bases out of Cebu to areas such as Luzon, Iloilo, and Davao.

The company also committed to enhance logistics and meet environmental protection programs through the installation of a two-kilometer marine belt conveyor, expansion of the berth and jetty in San Fernando, Cebu, and the adoption of energy-efficient production processes.

The new Taiheiyo Cement expansion project is a strategic investment not only in the context of the President’s ‘Build, Build, Build’ program, but also from the perspective of meeting the demand of our country’s economic recovery. This is estimated by both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to reach 6.2 percent to 6.8 percent in 2021,” Lopez said.

Taiheiyo executives in Japan reported that all these commitments are underway. Taiheiyo Cement Corp. also instructed its Philippine subsidiary, Taiheiyo Cement Philippines, Inc., to formally announce its decision to construct a new production line in Cebu on November 10. The project, valued at P15 billion, includes a state-of-the-art facility employing novel and advanced technologies from developers in Europe and other leading global technology providers.

The expansion promises to increase TCPI’s cement capacity by 50 percent in the immediate term and by 150 percent in the medium term.

The enhanced capacity is projected to increase Taiheiyo’s current Philippine market share from seven percent to 10 percent.

The project promises to adhere to green economy requirements via the introduction of energy-efficient operations, which will bring about a reduction by 10 percent of carbon dioxide emissions from energy use in clinker production from the old line’s energy efficiency rates.

Lopez said Taiheiyo’s expansion plans would support DTI’s cornerstone strategy, REBUILD PH or “REvitalizing BUsinesses, Investments, Livelihoods, and Domestic Demand”.

This strategy is designed to jumpstart and reinvigorate the economy by enhancing both production capacity and revitalizing consumption.

The Trade and Industry chief added: “This partnership offers numerous opportunities that will complement economic growth opportunities in the Philippines as we aim to build back better.”

“That is why DTI will continue to support and pursue investments geared towards ensuring domestic sufficiency in industrial base requirements for cement, steel, petrochemicals, and energy. This, in turn, will also provide jobs and sources of income for our countrymen, which will be vital in the post-pandemic recovery of our nation,” he said.

Trade and Industry Undersecretary Ceferino Rodolfo advised that the DTI-Board of Investments would review the project’s new technologies for incentive eligibility.

Rodolfo added that the BoI would be ready to provide investment facilitation services through its standing cooperation with related agencies responsible for the issuance of relevant permits and licenses.

In 2019, the country imported $543.9 million with cement importations increasing by an average of 213.8% from 2015. This makes the country the third-largest cement importer in the world after the US and China.

DTI Special Trade Representative Dita Angara-Mathay reported: “This year alone, three new investment projects from Japan were announced amid the pandemic: two expansions and one new project in the fields of manufacturing for export and industrial operations.”

“These projects will meet the infrastructure demands of a growing domestic market, and is a fitting testimony of how Philippine-Japan economic ties are continuing to grow from strength to strength,” Angara-Mathay said.

The Taiheiyo Cement Group headquarters in Odaiba, Tokyo runs diverse businesses from cement, mineral resources, environmental, construction materials to real estate, engineering, data processing, finance, transportation, warehousing, chemicals, and sports.