US, Japan to unveil Luzon investment connecting 4 major PH biz hubs

By Joyce Ann L. Rocamora

April 11, 2024, 11:00 pm

MANILA – The United States, Japan, and the Philippines are set to unveil the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment (PGII) Luzon Corridor that will usher in new infrastructure projects to connect Subic Bay, Clark, Manila, and Batangas.

The PGII, founded by the G7 countries, aims to mobilize up to USD600 billion by 2027 to help narrow the infrastructure investment gap in partner countries.

A senior US administration official who spoke on condition of anonymity during a teleconference in Washington DC on Thursday said the Luzon initiative would be the first PGII corridor in the Indo-Pacific and would be launched as part of the deliverables of the historic trilateral leaders’ summit between President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr., US President Joe Biden, and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on April 11.

The investment initiative, the official said, would “accelerate coordinated investments in high-impact infrastructure projects, including ports, rail, clean energy, semiconductors, supply chains, and other forms of connectivity in the Philippines”.

After the launch, the governments would set up a steering committee to accelerate the corridor projects.

The US Development Finance Corporation will also open its first regional office in the Philippines as part of the announcement, the official said.

“When it comes to PGII, we do expect it will take some time for the full suite of investments that we’ve envisioned here to come to pass," the official said.

"But as I mentioned, we’re standing up a steering committee of high-level US, Philippines, and Japanese government officials to ensure that we are steering private sector investment to exactly the types of projects that this corridor needs to improve, as well as bringing a full suite of US government tools to bear."

 The official noted that the corridor and the recent US Presidential Trade Mission to Manila are testaments that Washington DC “take very seriously” its work to help the country's clean energy transition and supply chain resilience, among others.

‘More investments’

The administration official said several US companies would also announce new investments in the Philippines, including in areas of undersea cables, logistics, and telecommunications.

Google on April 11 said it would invest USD1 billion in two submarine cable projects, one of which was to create new fiber optic routes between the US, Japan, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) and on to Guam.

Google added that its ongoing Taiwan-Philippines-US cable system project would also get an extension to CNMI “to increase reliability in the region”.

On top of these, the senior official said the US would launch new aid packages on "humanitarian assistance and disaster response, specifically located around the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) sites".

“Including over the next year, you’ll see USAID (United States Agency for International Development) in partnership with DOD (US Department of National Defense) launching a new initiative to pre-position humanitarian relief commodities for Philippine civilian disaster response authorities at EDCA sites,” the official said. (PNA)