Sumitomo Mitsui to help steer more Japanese locators to PHL

Sumitomo Mitsui to help steer more Japanese locators to PHL

THE Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) said it signed a partnership with Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. (SMBC), which holds a minority share in Rizal Commercial Banking Corp. (RCBC), to help steer Japanese investors to the Philippines.

“This (memorandum of understanding) is a continuing program of PEZA partnering in industries, banks, even bank associations because they’ll be our extension and support group when it comes to attracting investments,” PEZA Director General Tereso O. Panga said on the sidelines of the signing on Tuesday.

“With the SMBC and RCBC, obviously we are looking at Japan, being our number one source of investments, exports, and jobs for the longest time,” he added.

Mr. Panga said PEZA will be more “aggressive” in signing up more investors from Japan.

“In fact, immediately after the signing, I think in the first week of March, we will have our first investment seminar for our SMBC clients,” he added.

Japan accounts for 807 of all PEZA-registered business enterprises (RBEs) with combined investments of P797.84 billion as of October.

“With its acclaimed global presence, the partnership with SMBC could help PEZA tap into a broader network of international investors, potentially attracting more foreign direct investment (FDI) and reinvestment into the economic zones,” Mr. Panga said.

“On the other hand, the collaboration with RCBC could streamline processes within the economic zones, making it more efficient and attractive for potential investors,” he added.

SMBC Managing Executive Officer and Co-Head of Asia-Pacific Yuichi Nishimura said that under the partnership, SMBC will be hosting events in Tokyo to attract investors.

“I am sure this tri-party MoU would further facilitate our corporation activities to attract additional investors into the Philippines,” Mr. Nishimura said.

Eugene S. Acevedo, president and chief executive officer of RCBC, said RCBC has been actively servicing Japanese clients since 1974.

“So it is a great way to celebrate the occasion by actively participating in sourcing new investors from Japan together with our partners in SMBC,” Mr. Acevedo said.

“We (will support) delegations visiting Tokyo and other cities,” he added.

Mr. Nishimura sees opportunities in the Philippines for high tech and pharmaceuticals investments.

“We want to contribute to the Philippines as a country, so (we will follow) whatever the government initiatives are, for example to further enhance high techs, or pharmaceutical and medical equipment. These value-adding areas could be among them,” he said.

He added that the role of RCBC, which is 15% owned by SMBC, will be to offer retail products to investors’ employees.

“SMBC is historically very good at providing corporate finance … but having RCBC as our partner, we could focus on the new areas, like employee financing needs,” he said.

“We cannot provide these services because we are foreign. So we need a very trustworthy local partner… Going forward, we can together provide a one-stop shop gateway that can provide everything from corporate needs to employee needs,” he added. — Justine Irish D. Tabile