Philippines to welcome more Chinese funds

Updated: 2013-09-05 07:24

By Ben Yue in Nanning (China Daily)

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A senior Philippine trade official said that Chinese investment is welcome, despite emerging bilateral tension over territorial disputes.

The Philippines hopes to attract investment from more Chinese companies, and it offers significant opportunities in infrastructure, agriculture, light industry and telecommunications, said Secretary of Trade and Industry Gregory L. Domingo, speaking on Tuesday on the sidelines of the 10th China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit.

"The Philippines is becoming a bustling hub of trade and investment opportunities," he said.

"We have much to offer, including opportunities in garment production, tourism, renewable energy, motor vehicle components and shipbuilding and repair."

Domingo spoke during a roundtable discussion with Chinese entrepreneurs in Nanning, capital of the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.

Bilateral relations have become increasingly tense in recent months over maritime territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

The summit is part of the 10th China-ASEAN Expo, where the Philippines is being honored as country of the year.

In 2012, China became the Philippines' third-largest trade partner. China is the country's third-largest export market and second-largest source of imports.

"Philippine companies have invested more than $2.5 billion in China. However, the investment of Chinese companies in the Philippines still remains low at less than $1 billion," said Domingo.

"We are confident that the increasing exposure of China's businessmen to the Philippines through this roundtable, and through doing business in each other's country, will sow the seeds of a major increase in investments in the Philippines by Chinese companies," said Domingo.

According to Dong Songgen, vice-chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, bilateral trade reached a record high of $36.4 billion in 2012, up 12.8 percent year-on-year.

The Philippines is China's sixth-largest trading partner among the ASEAN member countries.

Dong said bilateral trade and investment relations have made much progress. For example, the Philippines was the first foreign buyer of China's Xinzhou-60 aircraft, and it was also the first ASEAN country to use a Chinese rocket to launch a satellite.

Investment by the State Grid Corp of China in the Philippines is one of the biggest investments China has made anywhere in ASEAN.

During the roundtable meeting, Chinese entrepreneurs from State-owned enterprises and private-sector companies expressed their willingness to make further investments in the Philippines.

Liang Huijiang, head of international finance at China Development Bank, said that the policy bank is interested in investing in Philippine infrastructure projects.

(China Daily 09/05/2013 page16)