Original article courtesy of Manila Bulletin
A ranking Chinese Embassy official has assured a large group of visiting Chinese entrepreneurs that the Philippines is ready to “serve you well” as he encouraged them to finalize their respective investments in the country.
Speaking at the just-concluded China-Philippines Summit at the historic Manila Hotel over the weekend, Chinese Embassy Commercial Counsellor Jin Yuan gave the visiting investors a rosy picture of what he called a “great momentum” in the current economic and trade relations between Manila and Beijing.
“According to President Duterte’s description, China-Philippine relation has entered a golden era. Therefore, with our concerted efforts from both government and business communities, I’m confident we will step into a brighter and promising future for China Philippines friendship…Come to the Philippines and the Philippines will serve you well,” he told a crowd of about one hundred Chinese delegates who attended the three-day summit.
Yuan, in particular, pitched for possible investments in the soon-to-be constructed Chinese Industrial Park in Clark City, a multi-billion dollar cooperation program signed during Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit in the Philippines last November.
“I’m very glad to see many potential Chinese investors here, and hope some of you can finalize your investment in the future Chinese Industrial Park,” Yuan said.
He further informed the Chinese investors that based on the latest Department of Trade and Industry report, China has topped the list of foreign investors in the Philippines in 2018 with a total of P48 billion, and those new investments approved by the Board of Investments on the same year has achieved double-digit growth.
Among these newly-approved Chinese investments were those of the China Telecom which won the bid for the third telecom operator license in the Philippines with a promise of about US$5 billion layout in five years; the Hebei Iron and Steel plant in Cagayan De Oro worth US$3.5 billion; and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) investment of LNG projects in Batangas.
Even in the area of people to people contact, Yuan noted an almost 30 percent year-on-year increase with about 1.25 million Chinese tourists who visited the Philippines last year.
With these figures, he said China is now the second largest tourist origin in the Philippines and it is “only a matter of time” till it becomes the largest.
In the forthcoming Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) forum in Beijing next month, Yuan expressed optimism that both the Philippines and China would be able to further discuss not only economic arrangements such as grants, and soft loans but also other agreements like cultural, people-to-people, customs cooperation, among others.
President Duterte, who is one of the 40 world leaders invited to attend the BRI forum, is also expected to meet with prospective Chinese investors, most particularly those who have “serious intent in coming to the Philippines.”