A Chinese group will finance the establishment of an industrial park in New Clark City, Pampanga.
A Chinese group will finance the establishment of an industrial park in New Clark City, Pampanga.
AP/File
Chinese company to ink P105-billion deal on New Clark City
(philstar.com) - November 19, 2018 - 3:40pm

MANILA, Philippines — As Chinese President Xi Jinping visits the country this week, a Chinese company will invest $2 billion or about P105.2 billion to establish an industrial park in New Clark City, Pampanga.

According to a report in the Financial Times, the China Gezhouba Group will sign a memorandum of understanding to develop 500 hectares in Clark.

This would be one of the largest projects under the Duterte administration's "Build Build Build" infrastructure program.

It would also be one of Beijing's biggest investments in the country.

The signing of the deal will coincide with Xi's two-day state visit to Manila, the first by a Chinese leader since former President Hu Jintao.

Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) president Vince Dizon said Chinese technology and manufacturing companies will be using the planned industrial park in Clark.

"You are talking about thousands of jobs that would be made available there once those industrial locators come in," Dizon told the Financial Times.

An executive from Gezhouba said an intention and framework for investment has been established, the Financial Times reported.

The Chinese group has been waiting for official feedback from the Philippine government and is currently in the "stage of commercial confidentiality."

"We hope to promote co-operation with the BCDA, with the help of the high-level government visit this time," the Gezhouba senior official told Financial Times.

Gezhouba will be the second Chinese company to establish a major presence in the Philippines in recent months after China Telecom, which has expressed intent to become the country's third major telecommunications provider.

The Philippines and China have agreed on $15 billion or P789 billion worth of infrastructure projects when President Rodrigo Duterte visited Beijing last year.

RELATED: Philippines, China to ink deal on New Clark City ind’l park

'Debt trap'

However, implementation of China-backed projects have been slow with net foreign investment flows from Beijing amounting to about P9.48 billion in the first half of 2018, the report noted.

US Vice President Mike Pence has warned Asia Pacific countries of falling into China's debt traps.

"Projects they support are often unsustainable and of poor quality. And too often, they come with strings attached and lead to staggering debt," Pence said during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea.

Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno, meanwhile, assured the public that the Philippine government is "very careful" in choosing projects with China.

"We are very careful. Number one, we choose the projects we want... Second, we would step around for the best terms," Diokno said. — Patricia Lourdes Viray

BELT AND ROAD INITIATIVE NEW CLARK CITY PHILIPPINES-CHINA TIES
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