Provide your email for confirmation

Tell us a bit about yourself

country *
province *

why we ask about location

Please provide your email address

Login

To share your thoughts

Don't have an account?

Login with email

Check your inbox

We just sent a link to your inbox. Click the link to continue signing in. Can’t find it? Check your spam & junk mail.

Didn't get a link?

Sign up

Ready to get started

Already have an account?

Sign up with email

By signing up you agree to Rappler’s Terms and Conditions and Privacy

Check your inbox

We just sent a link to your inbox. Click the link to continue registering. Can’t find it? Check your spam & junk mail.

Didn't get a link?

Join Rappler+

How often would you like to pay?

Monthly Subscription

Your payment was interrupted

Exiting the registration flow at this point will mean you will loose your progress

Your payment didn’t go through

Exiting the registration flow at this point will mean you will loose your progress

PH, China businessmen to sign MOUs during Duterte's Beijing visit

HEADING TO CHINA. Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president George Barcelon is part of the delegation of businessmen going to China with President Duterte. Photo by Albert Alcain/PPD

HEADING TO CHINA. Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry president George Barcelon is part of the delegation of businessmen going to China with President Duterte.

Photo by Albert Alcain/PPD

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino and Chinese business leaders are expected to sign memoranda of understanding (MOU) on the sidelines of the visit of President Rodrigo Duterte to Beijing next week.

“There will be some MOUs to be signed between the various industries. We’re signing, like for the MOU, the banks, for the assistance of the SME [small and medium enterprises] industry,” Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) president George Barcelon told Rappler on Thursday, October 13, on the sidelines of a Manila business convention.

Barcelon is part of the large business delegation that will accompany Duterte during his China visit from October 18 to 21.

Agreements on “some projects on infrastructure,” including power and transportation projects, are also expected to be discussed during the trip, he said.

Duterte has spoken of China's offer to build major railways in the Philippines.

Even during his presidential campaign, he has said he is open to assistance from China in the construction of 4 “legacy” railway projects in the Philippines, possibly in exchange for the sharing of natural resources in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). 

Around 400 businessmen will joint the Philippine business delegation to China, Barcelon said.

He described the delegation as being a “broad representation” of various industries such as agriculture, service, banking, and manufacturing.

Business forum in Beijing

The Filipino business delegation is set to meet with Chinese businessmen in a forum in Beijing on October 20.

“Like any conference, we’ll meet, we’ll discuss. It will just be between the [Philippine] delegation and the Chinese counterpart,” said Barcelon.

Arrangements were made for the forum with the China Chambers of Commerce, he added.

“Having this meeting is a start of something good,” he told Rappler.

Duterte's state visit comes 3 months after an arbitral tribunal at the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled in favor of the Philippines over China in their dispute in the South China Sea.

The bid of then President Benigno Aquino III to pursue the case against China through international arbitration – made amid China's  massive reclamation activities in the disputed area – had further soured relations between the Philippines and China. 

Renewal of ties

But Duterte has made friendly overtures to China, on the one hand saying he won’t “flaunt” the international arbitration ruling, while on the other, saying he wants stronger economic ties with the Asian giant.

Reinvigorated trade between China and the Philippines is something Filipino businessmen look forward to, said Barcelon. The inclusion of a huge business delegation to Duterte’s state visit is seen as a step closer to this.

“It’s really the renewal of the closeness between China and the Philippines. Of course, there has been a lot of trade going on between China and the Philippines but last year, because of some of the issues, the agri exports were affected,” said Barcelon.

Bilateral investments between the two countries are heavily tipped to China's favor.

Duterte is expected to hold bilateral meetings with top Chinese officials during his visit. They are expected to discuss the West Philippine Sea dispute, fishing rights of Filipinos in the disputed areas, and cooperation in curbing transnational crime and illegal drugs, aside from trade and investments. 

The Philippines is pursuing a two-track system of dialogue with China to allow them to cooperate in some areas while separately handling "contentious issues" such as the maritime dispute. – Rappler.com

Pia Ranada

Pia Ranada covers the Office of the President and Bangsamoro regional issues for Rappler. While helping out with desk duties, she also watches the environment sector and the local government of Quezon City. For tips or story suggestions, you can reach her at pia.ranada@rappler.com.

image