MANILA - Investment pledges from Japan worth $6 billion are expected to generate at least 500,000 jobs in the Philippines, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said on Wednesday.
"We had a successful visit, bringing home about $6 billion of fresh investments from various companies that are tying up with several Philippine companies," Lopez said on ANC's Business Nightly.
The latest batch of 18 business ventures, which include investments in manufacturing, infrastructure, and information and communications technology, were secured following President Rodrigo Duterte's official visit to Japan, he said.
The trade chief said they are still threshing out the details, but the investments from Japanese companies could easily generate at least 500,000 jobs, particularly if they are labor intensive.
Meanwhile, Philippines may have dropped 14 places in World Bank's survey in terms of ease of doing business, Lopez said they expect a better score next year.
The country slipped from 99th place to 113th among 190 countries in the "Doing Business 2018" report.
Improvements introduced by the Duterte administration, Lopez said, may have not been fully experienced by businessmen surveyed in the report.
"Actually, our nominal score improved, but it's just that there were larger improvements done in other economies so that affected the rank," he added.
Lopez said many reforms are now underway. One of it is the proposed anti-red tape law, which was approved by Senate on third and final reading last Aug., to promote transparency and fast-track document processing.
The Department of Trade and Industry, on its part, is linking with other agencies to streamline the process of doing business.
"It will take time, but definitely that only means the Duterte administration reaffirm its commitment to accelerate the reforms. We want to be in top 20 or top 40 once all these reforms are implemented," he said.