Philippines, China sign $24-B deals

President Duterte is shown the way by Chinese President Xi Jinping before a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing last Thursday. KRIZJOHN ROSALES  

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines has garnered $24 billion worth of investment and financing agreements in one of the most controversial and lucrative state visits of a Filipino leader in recent history.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said President Duterte’s three-day China trip, which was accompanied by a big business delegation, resulted in several investment and financing agreements that summed up to $24 billion, of which $15 billion are investment projects and $9 billion credit facilities.

The investment agreements would together translate to at least two million jobs to be generated locally over the next five years, Lopez said.

Lopez said the deals cut across various industries such as manufacturing, agribusiness, trade, finance, hotels, telecommunications, tourism, transportation and infrastructure.

“In meeting the top leaders and business community in China, what I see is a positive move towards re-strengthening ties with Asian neighbors which historically have been our economic and trading partners for centuries,” Lopez said.

“The highly successful meetings with top leaders of China, President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Kequiang, have led to greater confidence in the future economic relations of our two countries,” he added.

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With the relationship between both countries slowly improving after being strained by issues on the South China Sea, Lopez said Chinese investments are a promising growth area for the Philippines as the country looks to further pump prime its economy.

According to China’s trade and investments chief, their investment to the Philippines dropped to only $32 million in 2015.

He said the amount represents a small portion of China’s total outward investments for the same year that stood at $130 billion.

“In re-establishing a region of peace in Asia, many are more optimistic in seeing trade and investment levels soar to greater heights,” he said.

In terms of trade, China is the country’s second largest partner with $17 billion in total trade between the two economies in 2015.

Philippine exports to China stood at $6 billion last year. Lopez said this remains to have a very high potential for growth given that China’s total imports in 2015 reached $2 trillion.

“President Duterte has been establishing good rapport with Asian leaders like the ones he recently visited such as Laos, Indonesia, Brunei and now in China. Other Asian countries are scheduled to be visited soon. The friendships regained are opening up deeper commitments in enhancing economic, trade and investment ties, reaffirming our vision of regional economic integration,” Lopez said.

 

 

 

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