China delegation PH with Sec Ramon Lopez
(L to R) China Real Estate Pioneer Development Co. Ltd. President Chen Xiao, Special Philippine Trade Representative Glenn Peñaranda, BOI Director Angelica Cayas, DTI Undersecretary Rowel Barba, Secretary Ramon Lopez , Huili Investment Fund Management Co., Ltd. Chairman Dr. Meng Xiaosu, Yi Ding Tai International’s Jun Hou, Huili Investment Fund Management Co., Ltd. Executive Managing Director George Meng, and BOI Director Eries Cagatan.

The Philippines (PH) under the Duterte Administration continues to enjoy the confidence of foreign direct investors with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), through the Board of Investments (BOI), welcoming the investment intentions of Chinese firms Huili Investment Fund Management Co., Ltd. and Yi Ding Tai International Corporation.

The investments, focusing on iron and steel manufacturing and shipbuilding, are worth USD 4.5 billion with 8,000 employment opportunities.

“This is one of several investment proposals we have received on the steel industry that will allow us pursue President Duterte’s vision of having a globally competitive iron and steel industry, to support the growing economy, to alleviate poverty, and to create jobs for every Filipino,” said DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez.

A private equity firm based in Beijing, China, Huili Fund expressed its intention to partner with PH and private sector entities through a letter of intent signed earlier this year and endorsed by China’s Ministry of Commerce. The company plans to implement a two-phased project of a world-class integrated steel manufacturing facility that will employ 6,000 people by 2022.

In a recent courtesy call on Sec. Lopez on 5 October, Huili Investment Fund Management Co., Ltd. Chairman Dr. Meng Xiaosu presented the plan for the facility where the first phase will include production of billets, long, and flat products. The chain will be completed on the second phase through iron ore. Currently, a feasibility study is being conducted that includes the possible location to set up the facility, where the availability of port and low electricity cost are considered.

“Producing the steel here will be favorable to both parties as it will generate jobs for Filipinos and be cost-effective for the company. This complements our drive to provide opportunities to uplift the lives of those at the bottom of the pyramid as we take a step forward to inclusivity and shared prosperity for all,” Sec. Lopez added.

Dr. Xiaosu also cited the benefits of putting up a facility in PH given that it is on the Maritime Silk Road and will help the company expand in the region while reaching other ASEAN countries with lower freight cost.

The trade chief shared during the meeting that the project will also contribute to the Philippine Manufacturing Resurgence Program (MRP) through knowledge-sharing of advanced technological know-how in support of the Philippines’ bid to be a major producer of high-quality and safe steel products by 2030.

Meanwhile, Yi Ding Tai International Corporation has selected PH as the best location for the development of a shipbuilding and ship repair (SBSR) facility for frontier-island, regional size vessels with 15,000 deadweight tons, including advanced ship and vessel designing, manufacturing, repair, sales, and financial support.

Feasibility studies are currently ongoing following international maritime safety standards as the company is intent on investing in an SBSR facility with a local company in PH worth USD 1.5 billion. The facility is set to open job opportunities for at least 2,000 people by 2022.♦