(The Philippine Star) | Updated December 4, 2017 – 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines — SteelAsia Manufacturing Corp. and its foreign partners are investing $1.5 billion to build an ecosystem of steel-based industries in the Philippines, its chairman Benjamin Yao said.
“This is a good time to invest in manufacturing. Government is a partner, cutting down red tape to a minimum and reducing corruption as an unwanted cost hampering viability,” Yao said.
No further details of the project were disclosed but Yao said the $1.5 billion investment is the first step towards building an integrated steel industry for the country.
“To make this leap forward, we must embrace collaborations with foreign partners to transfer the technology, operational know-how and shorten learning curves during the most critical period of the investment,” he said.
SteelAsia, the country’s largest steel company, has a capacity of 2.3 million metric tons, with six plants strategically located across the country.
“Steel is the mother of all manufacturing. Manufacturing, in turn, creates employment even for the moderately skilled. Eight of 10 jobs in manufacturing do not require tertiary education. Manufacturing is the means to create jobs for our people,” Yao said.
The official said every emerging economy today needs core industries such as steel, petrochemicals, and semi-conductors.
“Around these core industries, other manufactures could be supported. Government policy must clearly support the core industries if it wants a manufacturing base,” he said.
Yao urged the government to sharpen its policy to support cutting edge manufacturing.
“In a competitive, market-driven environment, industrial policies must be biased in favor of the efficient, of the technologically driven, of the enterprises driven by a passion for excellence. It is ultimately futile to try and keep balancing the interests of the uncompetitive with those of the competitive, the inefficient with those of the efficient. The market will decide,” he said.
“Those venturing into manufacturing must be inclined to build strong partnerships not only with suppliers but also with customers. Under present conditions, no enterprise can be an island. Those with the best synergies will thrive. Those that fail to build linkages from the start will perish,” Yao added.