We heard encouraging words from President Rodrigo Duterte and President Xi Jin Ping during the bilateral meeting, as they focused on how we can advance peace and cooperation in many fields, like in trade and investments, infrastructure and finance, education, agriculture, science and technology, security, and working against transnational crimes and illegal drugs.

President Xi reiterated China’s policy to help balance trade with the Philippines by buying more goods especially agriculture and agri-based products and industrial goods. This was reinforced during my side meeting with Chinese Commerce and Finance Minister Zhong Shan when he mentioned that China wants to import more goods from the Philippines. To date, Philippine exports to China have been growing at an average of 10% in the last three years.

Chinese companies are also encouraged to invest in the Philippines to help increase jobs and production capacities that will enable the Philippines to enhance its exports capabilities. The momentum of Chinese investments has been very positive as foreign direct investments (FDI) from China grew six times more in the last three years. More big-ticket projects are on the way especially in manufacturing both in heavy industries like petrochemical, iron and steel, as well as light industries like textile, construction, technology-based services, agribusiness, energy, power, transportation, infrastructure, and tourism.

On tourism and people-to-people exchange, Chinese leaders are also optimistic in seeing more Chinese tourists visiting the Philippines and other nearby Asian countries. From only about 500,000 tourists from China in the Philippines in 2015, the number has increased to 1.2 million in 2018 and is expected to reach 1.5 million this year, helping boost the local economy.

Today, DTI arranged a business forum with President Duterte, with around 300 Chinese and Filipino businessmen having registered to attend the session this afternoon.♦

Date of Release: 30 August 2019