By Chino S. Leyco
The Department of Finance (DOF) expects more partnerships with China as the Philippines’ relations with the Asia’s economic powerhouse become “warm and productive” under President Rodrigo R. Duterte and President Xi Jinping’s administrations.
Speaking before a visiting delegation of Chinese businessmen, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said yesterday that bilateral ties between the two nations have improved under President Duterte’s watch that resulted in better prospects for mutually beneficial business partnerships.
“We look forward to more partnerships at ground level, at the level of individual enterprises, and shared wealth creation. The opportunities that unite us are far greater than the issues where we might have some differences,” Dominguez said at the Philippines-China Trade and Investment Forum.
At the same time, Dominguez assured Chinese investors that the Philippine government is committed in providing “rich field” of investment opportunities for them and an “environment more conducive to sustainable
In 2018, China was the Philippines’ biggest trading partner with a total trade of $52 billion, which is 15 percent higher than a year before.
Foreign direct investments (FDIs) from China to the Philippines reached $634 million last year, a dramatic 185 percent growth from the previous year.
“We look forward to even closer cooperation as we build the best possible future for our two peoples,” Dominguez said. “Much credit will have to be given to the foresight of both President Xi Jinping and President Rodrigo Duterte.”
Dominguez said the visit of the delegation of Chinese officials and businessmen underscores the growing people-to-people relations and improving prospecting for “mutually rewarding business partnerships” between the two countries.
During the event, Dominguez also congratulated the People’s Republic of China on its 70th founding anniversary and expressed his admiration for its past and present leaderships for accomplishing their goal of virtually eliminating poverty among its people.
“No other country, at the size and scale of China, has ever achieved this in human history,” Dominguez said.
Under President Xi’s leadership, China has moved ahead with its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which Dominguez described as the “single largest enterprise in human history” that will “reshape the global economy for the new century.”
Dominguez said the Philippines fully supports BRI, aware of its vast economic potentials for all countries in the region and outside it.
“Enhanced trade will encourage more efficient investment flows. Improved connectivity will enhance the inclusiveness of our growth patterns. We have everything to gain from this,” he said.
Dominguez said the Philippines also has its own BRI in the form of the “Build, Build, Build” program, which is the centerpiece of President Duterte’s economic strategy of making economic growth sustainable and inclusive for all law-abiding Filipinos.
“We are relying on this infrastructure modernization program to induce internally generated growth that will enable us to expand despite a challenging global environment brought about by protectionist policies in the West,” Dominguez said.
Dominguez said the economies of the two countries complement each other in many ways, foremost of which is the fact that the Philippines, with its young, well-educated, cosmopolitan workforce can become an important “demographic partner” of China.
He cited China’s key support for the Philippines’ infrastructure modernization through its official development assistance, loans and grants that will help build dams, bridges and railways under the “Build, Build, Build” program.
The Philippines, Dominguez said, has also benefited from the renminbi-denominated “Panda” bonds it has floated in the Chinese market that had been widely supported by Chinese investors and the Bank of China.
Dominguez said the Duterte administration has fully prepared for the large costs involved in implementing “Build, Build, Build” by passing key tax reform measures and improving tax administration. These measures have yielded the revenues necessary to support “Build, Build, Build.”