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Government commits support to AIIB, OBOR initiative

During a forum held in Beijing last week, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez cited the benefits brought about by the establishment of the AIIB, as well as the implementation of the OBOR initiative which he said may be considered as “the largest and most comprehensive cooperation project of the century.“ DOF/Released, File

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine government has committed to support the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the One-Belt One-Road (OBOR) initiative, the Department of Finance (DOF) said yesterday.

During a forum held in Beijing last week, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez cited the benefits brought about by the establishment of the AIIB, as well as the implementation of the OBOR initiative which he said may be considered as “the largest and most comprehensive cooperation project of the century.“

“The Philippines is happy to cooperate with both the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and the Belt and Road program. Both initiatives will bring lasting benefits to all countries of this region. Both will set the conditions for more comprehensive trade among the countries in this part of the world,” Dominguez said.

Earlier, Chinese Commerce Minister Zhong Shan urged the Philippine government to tap other sources of funding for its projects, including the AIIB and the $40 billion Silk Road Fund.

Dominguez also expressed his gratitude for China’s support to the Duterte administration’s massive infrastructure modernization program.

 “We are grateful for the enthusiastic support China has offered to help as grow our economy rapidly. I am sure there are many complementary points that will ensure the sustained growth of an inclusive economy in the Philippines,” Dominguez said.

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The finance chief said China has shown “immense goodwill“ by extending a grant for the construction of two bridges across the Pasig River, namely the Binondo-Intramuros bridge and the Estrella-Pantaleon bridge, to help ease traffic congestion in Metro Manila.

He also cited the investments committed by Chinese companies to the Philippines have been beneficial in expanding bilateral trade between the two countries and increasing tourist flows from China.

Dominguez noted over the past few years, Manila and Beijing have developed various bilateral mechanisms that allow closer coordination between the two countries.

“These bilateral mechanisms are the scaffoldings helping us build a truly functional bilateral relationship,” Dominguez said.

In a couple of years, the finance chief said he expects China to become the country’s most important trade partner as both countries get “enormous“ benefits from strengthened economic ties.

Dominguez said the comprehensive cooperation between the Philippines and China would serve as a driver for growth in the Southeast Asian region over the next decade.

“There is much to look forward to in our trade and investment partnership. There is much ground for optimism in the vitality of this partnership,” he added.

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