PH, China to resume trade dialogue after hiatus

Paterno Esmaquel II
Philippine and Chinese officials discuss the possible construction of a Chinese industrial park in the Philippines, among other things

PHILIPPINES-CHINA TRADE. Wu Zhengping, a Chinese ministry of commerce official, says the Philippines and China will resume a trade dialogue through a joint commission after a 5-year hiatus. Photo by Paterno Esmaquel II/Rappler

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines and China agreed to resume a trade dialogue through a joint commission after a 5-year hiatus, a Chinese ministry of commerce official said Tuesday, November 15. 

Wu Zhengping, director general of the Department of Asian Affairs of China’s Ministry of Commerce, said the two countries “decided to resume” the Joint Commission on Trade and Economic Cooperation (JCTEC) between them by early 2017.

In a media briefing at the Chinese embassy in Manila, Wu said the JCTEC “hasn’t had this meeting for nearly 5 or 6 years.”

Wu also said the two countries “agreed to sign a 6-year development plan in the areas of trade, investment, and economic cooperation” in connection with the 28th JCTEC meeting next year.

He said the Philippines and China have discussed the possible construction of “railways, airports, bridges, and expressways.” The two countries have also “talked about the construction of a Chinese industrial park in the Philippines.”

Investing more in Philippines

Wu pointed out that Chinese companies have shown much “sincerity” about the Philippines.

“I think the Chinese companies expressed the hope that they are going to invest more in the Philippines, both to take advantage of the good economic growth here in the Philippines and also to use the Philippines as a gateway to other markets, including ASEAN and neighboring countries,” the Chinese official said.

Wu is visiting the Philippines for meetings with Philippine trade and economic officials. 

He has met with representatives from the National Economic and Development Authority, the Department of Public Works and Highways, the Department of Transportation, and the Department of Trade and Industry.

He said the meetings “proved to be very fruitful and successful.”

Wu’s visit comes after President Rodrigo Duterte’s recent trip to China. During this trip, Duterte sought to attract Chinese trade and investments to the Philippines as he downplayed Manila’s legal victory against Beijing over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). – Rappler.com

Paterno Esmaquel II

Paterno R. Esmaquel II, news editor of Rappler, specializes in covering religion and foreign affairs. He obtained his MA Journalism degree from Ateneo and later finished MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at pat.esmaquel@rappler.com.