• Melo Acuna

PH-CH trade ties at its best prior to COVID-19 pandemic says Trade Secretary Lopez

Philippine-China bilateral trade reached US$48.6 billion in 2019

MANILA – Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez said since President Rodrigo Duterte’s first state visit to China in 2016, the ties between the two nations “blossomed” under his leadership.

Speaking before the Association for Philippines-China Understanding (APCU) Forum this afternoon, Secretary Lopez said the Philippines has participated in a series of international events in china as the country recognized the opportunities in services aside from the traditional goods.

“China ranked last year as the Philippines top trading partner, the top export market, and the top import source with our total bilateral trade valued at US$48.6 billion. Our exports to china grew by 5.76% from US$18.4 billion in 2018 to US$19.5 billion in 2019,” he said.

He added the Philippines’ imports from China increased by 14.89% from US$25.1 billion to US$29.1 billion in 2019. China has remained among the top sources of investments, ranked second in 2019 with US$1.7 billion worth of investment pledges. In 2018, China was the Philippines’ top source of approved foreign investments with US$963 million.

Secretary Lopez added the Board of Investments (BOI), which he chairs has prioritized several sectors for Chinese investments from parts manufacturing for bicycle, electric vehicles and light vehicles, light industries manufacturing, component manufacturing in solar photovoltaic, electronic and electromechanical items. He added they have also considered the manufacture of building material, processing of high-value food and fisheries products including Halal, tourism and e-commerce.

A\he said an agreement has been signed between the Department of Trade and Industry of the Philippines and China’s Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) on Cooperation on Industrial Parks Development nearly three years ago. The program for the Cooperation was signed about two years ago during the State Visit of President Xi Jinping to the Philippines.

As the number of investments in industrial projects from China increase, Secretary Lopez said they will strengthen their capacity to serve both the domestic demand and the growing exports to China and other international markets to generate more jobs and employment.

He added both countries have huge domestic market base due to large populations as talent availability remains a key advantage for both the Philippines and China. The economic programs are complementary as both countries prioritize strategic industries like infrastructure and innovation-driven projects as key resources for China’s critical industries also abound in the Philippines. (Melo M. Acuña)

Department of Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon M. Lopez. (Screen grab from APCU Forum on Zoom)

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