Great momentum in China economic ties
Original article courtesy of Manila Bulletin
There is a great momentum in the economic and trade relations between Manila and Beijing, Commercial Counselor of the Chinese Embassy here Jin Yuan told some 100 visiting Chinese investors at the China-Philippines Summit at the Manila Hotel last March 29.
He said China topped the list of foreign investors in the Philippines in 2018 with a total of $962 million in approved investments. New investments include $5 billion in the telecom industry in the next five years and $3.5 billion in an iron and steel plant in Cagayan de Oro City.
Secretary of Trade and Industry Ramon Lopez who spoke at the same summit said Philippine exports to China grew by 8.5 percent to $8.7 billion, making it the Philippines 4th largest export market. Lopez said he seeks more exports not only of agricultural products but also of furniture, automotive parts, and electronics. The DTI is now preparing for the 2nd China International Import Expo this November, he said.
Earlier, last March 20, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III addressed some 500 investors and infrastructure officials at a Philippine Economic Briefing in Beijing. He spoke of the country’s
$170-billion “Build, Build, Build” program and its expected multiplier effects, notably the creation of new jobs and new businesses, and the lowering of the costs of transporting goods and people all over the islands. The Philippines thanks China for its generous support for this program, he said.
There have been lately some comments from some quarters about this support, who fear that the country may fall into a “debt trap” – failing to pay back the loans resulting in yielding of natural resources or strategic assets. Some countries, among them Sri Lanka and Pakistan, are today facing such a problem.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia, however, has assured that the Philippine government is being “extra careful” to ensure that the loans do not become “debt traps.” The high levels of transparency, he said, increase the likelihood that the projects are viable and thus capable of generating revenue necessary to pay back the loans.
Meanwhile, aside from so many loans, China has extended support and assistance to the Philippines, including a P1.5-billion donation of engineering equipment to the Armed Forces and a P140-million donation of broadcasting equipment to government broadcast stations RP1 and PTV4.
There is indeed a great momentum in the relations between the two countries that should help them in their economic growth and progress in today’s fast-developing world.