Original article courtesy of Inquirer
Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said the Philippines wanted to make the most out of its good relations with China by pushing for trade balance and more investments, as he cited the “great demand” for local products in the mainland.
In a statement, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) said that Lopez spoke during the China-Philippines Summit in Manila on March 29.
It said the summit was attended by Chinese business leaders seeking investment opportunities in the Philippines.
“The Philippines and China have a special relationship that began when President Duterte visited China in 2016 right after his assumption into office. [The] summit will help us deepen our trade and investment relationship,” Lopez said.
DTI noted that Philippine exports to China grew by 8.5 percent to $8.7 billion in 2018 from $8.02 billion in 2017, making it the Philippines’ 4th largest export market.
However, Lopez said he wanted to promote more exports not only of agricultural products, but also higher-value items such as luxury furniture, automotive parts and electronics. In line with this, DTI is already preparing for the upcoming 2nd China International Import Expo (CIIE) on November 2019.
During the first CIIE, the Philippines featured 36 exhibitors that sold a total of $124 million in goods during the five-day fair. This year, DTI is targeting a bigger presence with 100 exhibitors.
“There is great demand for Philippine products. We just have to increase production of agricultural and manufactured goods for us to meet this demand,” Lopez pointed out.
With $962.61 million in approved investments in 2018, China is the country’s top source of foreign investments for that year, according to the Board of Investments, which is chaired by Lopez.
Lopez said this was an indication of the Chinese government’s trust and confidence in the Philippines.