‘Business as usual’ for PH, China; more Chinese investments sought

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Trade and Industry Secretary Gregory L. Domingo said it remains “business as usual” between the Philippines and China at the 10th ASEAN-China Expo despite the absence of President Aquino, whose trip was cancelled on request by China for the president to visit at a more conducive time.

 

“It is business as usual, all schedules for meetings are intact,” Domingo told reporters. Domingo left Sunday to head the Philippine delegation at the 10th CAEXPO, which opens today, Sept. 2, until Friday this week in Nanning, China.

With the Philippines being designated as the “Country of Honor” at this year’s CAEXPO, Aquino was supposed to hold a roundtable with China’s CEOs of its biggest conglomerates and address a forum with Chinese business community and the Philippine business delegation. The Philippines has also a big pavilion at the exhibition.

“We have a good show there mounted by various agencies led by the Center for International Trade Expositions and Missions. It is to show continuous support for our bilateral relations. We will continue to look for trade and investment opportunities,” said Domingo.

Bilateral trade has been increasing although the balance of trade heavily weighs in favor of China. But in terms of investments, there has been a dearth of Chinese businessmen pouring in their capital here compared to the expansions made in China by Filipino-Chinese businessmen.

“I wouldn’t say that Chinese investments into the country have waned because it is not big to start with. That is where we want to see more of it,” Domingo stressed.

Instead of direct Chinese investments, Domingo said the Philippines is benefiting from foreign investors which are relocating outside of China because of the increasing cost of manufacturing, especially for those in the coastal side in China.

Some of these firms have gone to low cost producing countries in ASEAN, including the Philippines. 

But, Domingo said that China’s policy to move up the value chain has caused some firms to relocate to other countries.

“That’s on purpose from China’s side because they try to move to higher value industries. It’s deliberate on their part, that’s the natural flow from higher to lower cost countries. We are a beneficiary of that economic policy,” he said. (Manila Bulletin)