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Solon aims for ‘big whale’ investments from Japan

Japanese investors are still interested in financing Philippine infrastructure development projects, especially now that they can avail of the 40-year tax incentives under Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE), the co-chairman of the House Economic Cluster said.

Albay Rep. Joey Salceda issued the statement following his meeting last April 18, 2022 with Japanese Embassy officials led by Minister for Economic Affairs Mr. Masahito Nakata and Finance Attaché of the Embassy of Japan Mr. Kotaro Yamaguchi.

According to Salceda, he is actively promoting the Philippines as an investment destination for “big whale” investments under the country’s main tax incentives law, the CREATE Act.

“I am seeking major Japanese investments into the Philippines, particularly those above $1 billion. I’m shooting for big whales, those that will qualify for the 40-year tax incentives under CREATE. Frankly, when it comes to investors in the Philippines, no one else comes close to Japan. If anybody will qualify, it’s gonna be a Japanese investor,” Salceda said, referring to official foreign direct investments (FDI) data, which show Japan as the country’s top source of equity investments.

“The meeting was productive, and I provided the Japanese officials with insights into the possible composition of our priority list of investments, as well as the ‘green flags’ we’re looking for in FDI investors,” he said.

Under the CREATE Law, the President has the power to grant tax incentives of up to 40 years for high-value, high-tech investments of at least P50 billion.

“I am working with the Department of Trade and Industry to craft guidelines for that particular section of the tax code,” said the CREATE law’s principal author and sponsor.

“We also talked about the prospects of the Philippine economy, as well as how Japan seeks to help,” Salceda said of the meeting with Japanese officials.

“In particular, they remain interested in financing our infrastructure development, but they are also looking into other areas. I emphasized our need for Japanese know-how, technology, and researchers,” Salceda added.

Visa-free entry

Salceda also said he brought up the topic of tourist visas for Filipinos bound for Japan. “I asked Japan to waive visas for Filipino tourists, with the view towards more relaxed restrictions on Filipino workers. I think they’ll do some form of it, after that meeting.”

“We need them and they need us. It’s a perfect economic, geostrategic, and demographic relationship because our interests almost completely align,” Salceda added.

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