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China petrochem firm eyes expansion in Philippines

MANILA, Philippines — A Chinese petrochemical company is keen on expanding in the Philippines, adding to the growing list of business intentions and expansion projects being received from large companies based in China, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said Handi Group president Hanling Wu discussed with him in a recent meeting the possibility of the company investing in a petroleum refining and petrochemical manufacturing facility in the country.

“We welcome business intentions to strengthen our petrochemical industry, which the government actively supports. They expressed strong confidence on the business environment stability during the Duterte administration,” Lopez said.

Handi Group is one of the largest and advanced private specialty oil producers in China. The conglomerate is based in Hainan province and engages in multiple industries, including oil refinery, chemical industry, trading, investment and financing.

The group, through its subsidiaries Hainan Handi Sunshine Petrochemical Co. Ltd., Hainan Handi Petrochemical Co. Ltd., Handi Lubricant Technology (China) Co. Ltd., Handi Sunshine Trading Co. Ltd., and Handi Investment, has established a full scale and long-term strategic cooperation with large international energy companies such as ExxonMobil, Total, Chevron and BASF.

Lopez said he suggested for the facility to be put up in Mindanao, which will be suitable for the company’s power, land and accessibility requirements.

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Combined figures from Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and the Board of Investments (BOI) showed approved investment pledges from China nearly quadrupled for the January to October period, surging to P2.02 billion from P546.05 million in the same period in 2016.

China investments approved by PEZA alone during the 10-month period soared 980 percent year-on-year to P1.48 billion, while that from the BOI grew 32 percent year-on-year to P540.18 million.

Renewing the country’s ties with China has been a priority of the Duterte administration since Day One and its efforts are bearing fruits based on the investment data from BOI and PEZA as of end-October.

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