DTI Secretary Ramon Lopez during the Philippine Investment Forum on the first day of CIFIT 2021 in Xiamen China

The Philippines identified valuable investment projects and possible areas for closer collaborations and partnerships with Chinese partners during the Philippine Investment Forum on 8 September 2021, the first day of the China Investment Fair for Investment and Trade (CIFIT) 2021 at Xiamen, China.

“[A]llow me to convey my country’s sincere appreciation to the government of China and the organizers of CIFIT for the privilege accorded to us as CIFIT Guest Country of Honor (GCH) this year and in 2020. We regard the unique level of prominence provided by the GCH status during both expositions as excellent opportunities to stir interest in the Philippines as the ideal destination for your investments,” H.E. Jose Santiago L. Sta. Romana, Ambassador of the Republic of the Philippines in China and head of the Philippine delegation to CIFIT 2021 said during the opening remarks.

Liao Huasheng, member of the CPC Party Group and Vice Mayor of Xiamen Municipal People’s government, emphasized that the Philippines is an important partner of China.

In 2020, China ranked as the Philippines’ top trading partner (out of 225 countries), third biggest export market and top import supplier. This strong momentum continued for January to May 2021, as China was the country’s top export market, accounting for 16.2% of total exports and top country-source of imports, with a share of 27%. China is also the Philippines’ biggest source of Foreign Direct Investments in Asia— as net FDI from China reached US$ 10.33M (CNY66.94M) from January-May 2021, up 128% compared with the same period last year.

During the keynote speech, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez recognized the close ties of the Philippines and China and expressed his appreciation to the Chinese investors for continuously investing in the Philippines and sharing in its long-term vision. Key government officials led the discussion on sector-specific investment opportunities. DTI Undersecretary & Board of Investments Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo presented the Philippine – China Complementary relationship in trade and investments, while Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Cheryl Marie Natividad-Caballero shared agribusiness projects and opportunities in the Philippines and highlighted investment opportunities in abaca, coconut, mango, shrimp, cacao and coffee. Rene Reyes, Tourism Counsellor of the Department of Tourism in Shanghai,  identified investment opportunities in the fast-growing Philippine tourism sector.

The on-site Philippine delegation to CIFIT 2021 led by Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana and China-based officials from the Department of Agriculture, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Foreign Affairs, and Department of Tourism
The Philippine delegation to CIFIT 2021 led by Philippine Ambassador Jose Santiago Sta. Romana

As the Philippines continues to champion sustainability, two new sectors highlighted during the country’s participation in CIFIT 2021 are Hyperscalers and Renewable Energy. The Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT) through its Territory Head in China and Asia Pacific Region, Mr. Darren Wu, presented hyperscaler activities and projects that may be of interest to foreign investors. Wu stressed that the Philippines offers a strong market for hyperscaler companies and has the potential to transform into a hub to neighboring countries, such as China, given its thriving digital and economic profile.  He adds that the Philippines is home to a robust infrastructure that can enhance and sustain high-value business operations, being among the first country to adopt a 5G network; with presence of 16 international sub-sea cable systems, 13 cable landing stations and 600,000-km domestic fiber optic cable roll-out.

Aboitiz Power’s First Vice President in the Renewable Energy Project Development and Execution, Lee Balangue, presented opportunities in the Philippine renewable energy sector. He explained that the Philippines has competitive advantages in clean and renewable energy sources like geothermal, hydro, wind, biomass and solar energy. The transition to renewable energy has saved our country PHP4.04 billion, according to the Philippine Electricity Market Corporation, but there is still plenty of possibilities to embrace renewable energy, reduce reliance on imported fuel and diversify our power mix.

The Philippine participation in CIFIT 2021 also highlighted the country’s strengths and reliability in manufacturing, agribusiness, infrastructure and real estate development, among others. Thus, a testimonial from Mr. Deng Jun, the Country Head of the Bank of China (BOC) in the Philippines, one of the biggest Chinese companies doing business in the Philippines, was presented to show the advantages of expanding business in the country.

During the closing remarks, Glenn G. Peñaranda, Commercial Counsellor of the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Beijing announced that four Letters of Intent were signed during CIFIT 2021, indicating the strong interest of Chinese investors in seizing opportunities in the Philippines.

The Philippine participation to CIFIT 2021 featured five Gold Exhibitors sponsors Aboitiz InfraCapital; BDO Unibank, Inc.; SM Investment Corporation; San Miguel Corporation, and Science Park of the Philippines, Inc. The five Silver Exhibitors were PLDT; Federation of Filipino – Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. in partnership with Philippine Xiamen Amity Association; Damosa Land; Clark Development Corporation, and Renyi Holdings Group.

The Philippines is working with its strategic partner, Bank of China, in bringing awareness about the investment and trade projects in the Philippines to the Chinese market. Bank of China has a full commercial banking license in the Philippines and has been in operations in the country since 2002. The Manila Branch’s mission is to be the bridge between Chinese and Philippine trade and investments through corporate banking, personal banking, and financial markets services while facilitating Chinese investments in key sectors of the fast-growing Philippine economy.

Learn more about the Philippine participation to CIFIT 2021 by visiting our microsite. You may also get in touch with the Philippine Trade and Investment Centers in China or the Board of Investments in the Philippines to learn more about CIFIT 2021.

Date of Release: 10 September 2021