The Philippines will continue to push for stronger bilateral business and economic relations with China following the fifth visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to Beijing last month.

This was the assurance given by Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez during the PH-China Business Forum, which was attended by a 272-business delegation from established companies of both countries.

“The Department of Trade and Industry is committed to aggressively promote increased business with China. This is an important opportunity for promoting investments and partnerships in line with our Inclusive, Innovative Industrial Strategy (i3s). Furthermore, this will increase capacities of our manufacturing base to serve the growing domestic demand, promote import substitution, and to export more—not only to China—but also to other markets,” said Lopez.

“This is an important opportunity for promoting investments and partnerships.”

Attending the business forum were executives from the steel, manufacturing, construction, mining, energy, electronics, tourism, as well as blockchain technology industries.

“Greater trade and investment engagements between our two nations will surely help us to create the needed opportunities for our countrymen so that they can attain a better life,” Lopez added.

China is the Philippines’ largest trading partner, third largest export market, and top import supplier.

Bilateral merchandise trade between China and the Philippines for 2018 amounted to $30.8 billion and $2.75 billion as of June 2019. 

Likewise, exports by the Philippines to China grew by 10% year-on-year (yoy) average, from $6.2 billion in 2015 to $8.8 billion in 2018, and by 7.7% yoy to $4.6 billion in January to June of 2019.

China ranked fourth in terms of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) with $198.7 million in 2018. 

“The country’s bilateral relations with China is at high level.”

As of January to May 2019, China ranked first with $95.0million. Prior to 2016, China was not in the list of the Philippines’ top 10 investors and in 2015, FDI from China was only half a million dollars.

Lopez also expressed optimism in the relationship of the two countries under the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.

Lopez also shared that through Duterte’s leadership, the country’s bilateral relations with China is at a high level and is opening many business opportunities between two nations.

At the same event, Steel Asia and HBIS Group also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish an Integrated Steel Mill (ISM) in Batangas, which will support the Philippines’ bid to be a major producer of high-quality and safe steel products by 2030.

The ISM will allow the Philippines to produce basic iron and steel products, including flat steel products that are not yet being produced in the Philippines.

Memoranda of Agreements (MOAs) were also signed between the Tranzen Group and their Chinese partners for projects related to the national WiFi program and for emergency services, socialized housing, and the construction of expressways and power plants.

Meanwhile, the President encouraged the business delegates to participate in the country’s growth story and partner with the Philippines in building the economy. The President likewise committed to bring good governance and maintain order to ensure an enabling environment, which would allow businesses and investments to thrive and prosper. Duterte also reiterated that his administration will ensure the protection of all investments.

The Philippine business delegation included members of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and Silk Road Chamber led by Ambassador Francis Chua, the Federation of Filipino-Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FFCCCII) led by President Henry Lim Bon Liong, and the Philippine Overseas Construction Board (POCB) led by DMCI Holdings Inc. Chairman Isidro Consunji.

Members of the Chinese delegation menwhile included representatives from the China International Chamber of Commerce for the Private Sector (CICCPS) led by its founder Xue Chengbiao, Panhua Group Chairman Li Xinghua, China Railway Sixth Group Chairman Ji Zhihua, China Power International Holding Ltd General Manager Tian Jun, Shanghai Geoharbour Construction Group Chairman Xu Shilong, C&U Group Chairman Zhang Tongsheng, and Zhongguancun Industry and Technology Park Management Service Hebei Co. Ltd Chairman Fu Chunyi.

Also present during the forum were Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago L. Sta. Romana, Special Envoy to China Ramon Tulfo, DTI Undersecretary Rowel Barba, Philippine Trade and Investment Center (PTIC)-Beijing Commercial Counsellor Glenn Peñaranda, and PTIC-Shanghai Commercial Vice Consul Mario Tani. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *