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DTI Sec Ramon Lopez Handi Hanling Wu
DTI Secretary Ramon M. Lopez (left) and Handi Group President Hanling Wu.

MAKATI – The Philippines (PH) continues to receive business intentions and expansion projects from large companies based in China (CN).

In a recent meeting between Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon M. Lopez and Handi Group President Hanling Wu, they discussed possibility of investments of the company in a petroleum refining and petrochemical manufacturing facility in the country.

“We welcome business intentions to strengthen our petrochemical industry, which the government actively supports. They expressed strong confidence on the business environment stability during the Duterte administration,” said Sec. Lopez.

Handi Group is one of the largest and advanced private specialty oil producers in China. The conglomerate is based in Hainan Province and engages in multiple industries, including oil refinery, chemical industry, trading, investment, and financing.

The group, through its subsidiaries Hainan Handi Sunshine Petrochemical Co., Ltd. (HDS), Hainan Handi Petrochemical Co., Ltd. (HDP), Handi Lubricant Technology (China) Co., Ltd., Handi Sunshine Trading Co., Ltd., and Handi Investment, has established a full scale and long-term strategic cooperation with large international energy companies such as ExxonMobil, Total, Chevron, and BASF.

Sec. Lopez opened the discussion of putting up a facility in Mindanao, which will be suitable for the company’s power, land, and accessibility requirements.

Mr. Wu conveyed the need of Handi Group for a pool of technical staff, specifically engineers, from PH and the availability of talents in Mindanao.

“There are a lot of universities in Mindanao that produce quality graduates and professionals in the field of engineering. We have good universities present in all parts of PH,” the Sec Lopez said.♦

MANILA, PHILIPPINES – ASEAN and Hong Kong, China (HKC) strengthened vibrant trade and economic relations with the signing of the ASEAN-Hong Kong, China Free Trade Agreement (AHKFTA) and ASEAN – Hong Kong Investment Agreement (AHKIA) at the sidelines of the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related Summits on 12 November 2017 in Manila.

The two agreements are part of the region’s continuous efforts in expanding external economic relations to foster greater trade opportunities for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).

“This will open more opportunities for ASEAN as we ensure greater market access for our products and sustained flow of foreign direct investments (FDI),” said Secretary Ramon Lopez, this year’s Chairperson of the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM).

Lopez shared that these agreements would provide job opportunities for people and enhance collaboration among businesses, particularly the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) sector.

AHKFTA is ASEAN’s sixth free trade agreement (FTA) with external partners, after ASEAN-China FTA (ACFTA), ASEAN-Korea FTA (AKFTA), ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP), ASEAN-India FTA (AIFTA), and ASEAN-Australia-New Zealand FTA (AANZFTA). It covers trade in goods, rules of origin, non-tariff measures, customs procedures and trade facilitation, trade remedies, technical barriers to trade, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, trade in services, intellectual property rights, and economic and technical cooperation.

In the case of the Philippines (PH), which is an advocate of establishing an inclusive and innovative region, the deals provide more opportunities for MSMEs as well as to the country’s export industries given HKC’s role as gateway to the China market and their annual tourist arrivals.

For the first eight months of 2017, HKC was PH’s third top export destination with US$5.55 billion worth of exports equivalent to 13.18% of the country’s total exports. Meanwhile, approved investments from HKC for the first semester of 2017 amounted to US$10.74 million, making it the 12th source of investments of the country.♦

Spearheading promotion efforts under the blooming economic relations with China, Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Undersecretary for Trade and Investments Promotion Group Nora K. Terrado led the Philippine Delegation to the 14th China-ASEAN (CAEXPO) and 14th China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (CABIS) held from 12 to 15 September at the Nanning International Convention and Exhibition Center (NICEC) in Guangxi Province, China.

Usec Terrado China ASEAN Expo
The Philippine country pavilion at the 14th China-ASEAN Expo and 14th China-ASEAN Business and Investment Summit in Nanning, Guangxi, China. Leading the Philippine delegation is DTI Undersecretary for Trade and Investments Promotion Group Nora K. Terrado (5th from left) with Philippine Consulate in Guangzhou Consul General Marie Charlotte Tang (2nd from right) and Philippine Trade and Investment Center – Guangzhou Commercial Counselor John Paul Inigo.

Comprising the Philippine contingent of over 100 participants are local export companies, Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs) such as the Board of Investments (BOI), Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA), Subic Bay Metropolitan Area (SBMA), Clark Development Corporation (CDC), and the Mindanao Development Authority (MINDA) as well as businessmen and government sector representatives aiming to promote Philippine tourism and business opportunities to the huge Chinese and Southeast Asian market.

“This is an opportune time for the Philippines to fully present its potential as an investment destination to the Chinese market. It is also a chance for Philippine exporters to meet with potential partners and buyers of their products and services and see how they can maximize the booming trend in China,” said DTI Undersecretary Terrado.

The country’s contingent in China highlighted the Philippines’ trade potential through an exhibit of products and commodities from various sectors, including home, fashion and wearables, gifts, handicraft, personal care, and food.

Moreover, the Philippine participation also gave spotlight to this year’s Philippine featured destination, the province of Aurora. Tagged as the “Province of Charm”, the Aurora provincial government led by Vice Governor Rommel Angara, presented its booming tourism industry and economic potential particularly its agriculture sector.

“High on our agenda as we send Philippine trade missions abroad is opening more opportunities for countryside development. That is why we are happy to introduce Aurora province to the Chinese and Southeast Asian market as it has tremendous potential in the tourism and agriculture sector,” explained Terrado.

Currently, Aurora’s growth is primarily driven by agriculture. The sector employs approximately half of its population with about 49,991 hectares or 15% of the provincial land area classified as cultivated farmlands. Major crops include rice, coconut, coffee, bananas, root crops, corn, citrus fruits, peanuts, and abaca. The province is also a major producer of the Philippine's coconut distilled alcoholic drink known as "lambanog," and “tuba” which are made from the sap of coconut tree flowers.

Terrado served as the key speaker at the China-Philippines Production Capacity and Investment Cooperation Forum co-organized by the National Development and Reform Commission of China and the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) of the Philippines.

Meanwhile, a Philippine Investment Promotion Conference was also held at the sidelines of the CAEXPO on 13 September, jointly organized by DTI Board of Investments, Center for International Trade Exhibitions and Mission (CITEM) and Philippine Investment Promotion Agencies (IPAs).

The China-ASEAN Expo (CAEXPO) is co-sponsored by Ministries/Department of Commerce or industry and trade of China and the 10 ASEAN member states and was organized by the People’s Government of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region. It is considered as the second biggest trade event in China, with a total exhibition space of about 122,000 sqm. This year’s CAEXPO had 4,600 exhibition booths with around 57,000 visitors.

CAEXPO has grown into an event of special international influence and plays an important role in promoting the China-ASEAN friendly cooperation and building the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

For the 14th CAEXPO, the theme is to "Jointly Build the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, Promote Regional Economic Integration through Tourism," highlighting the vast potential of tourism industry between ASEAN and China. Through this international trade fair, China eyes to connect and boost its investments in ASEAN countries and provide infrastructure networks particularly for micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to participate in the global value chain.

Philippine participation at the 14th CAEXPO is in partnership with the Philippine Department of Trade and Industry and in close collaboration with The Philippine Consulate General and the Philippine Trade and Investment Center in Guangzhou.

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