Interview: Philippines-China trade ties to benefit from Xi's visit: Philippine trade secretary

Source: Xinhua| 2018-11-22 18:07:44|Editor: Liangyu
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MANILA, Nov. 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to the Philippines will enhance cooperation between the two countries and bring more technical assistance and trade arrangements, Philippine Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said in a recent interview.

"Hopefully, it will translate into more purchase orders and more investments from China," Lopez told Xinhua.

At the invitation of Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Xi paid a state visit to the Philippines on Nov. 20-21.

"Every time the two leaders meet, there is always good news coming out," said Lopez. Under the strategic guidance of Xi and Duterte, China-Philippines relations are moving along the fast track and gearing up for faster and stronger development.

Figures from the Chinese government show that the trade volume between China and the Philippines in 2017 topped 50 billion U.S. dollars, which made China the Philippines' No. 1 trading partner and import origin, and fourth largest export market. Philippine exports to China grew by 10.5 percent to 19.2 billion dollars in 2017.

Opportunities for trade between the Philippines and China "can be so much greater," said Lopez.

"We are big exporters of pineapple, mangoes, coconuts, bananas to China. And we are also working on processed agriculture products, snack products, like dried mangoes etc. And we want to promote these kinds of products," he said.

According to Lopez, in the past two years, he has met with many Chinese companies in the industries of steel, manufacturing, agriculture and electric power.

"The Philippines is in an economic breakout, so (there are) a lot of opportunities now for the Philippines. We encourage all the Chinese businessmen and investors to come to the Philippines," he said.

Last year, the newly added investment from China reached 53.84 million dollars, representing a year-on-year increase of 67 percent.

Speaking highly of China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), Lopez said "it's a program that is definitely benefiting the Philippines."

Lopez said the BRI is opening up more opportunities for cooperation, where the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) also finances major infrastructure projects in the Philippines.

"We see a lot of good things and programs from China that definitely are benefiting the Philippines," he said, vowing to continue to work with Chinese counterparts on implementing BRI, increasing trade and investment and cooperation.