Six bilateral accords – for two major infrastructure projects and for donations of communications, customs inspection equipment, rehabilitation projects for Marawi, and phytosanitary requirements for avocado exports—were signed last week by Philippine and Chinese officials, witnessed by Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III and China Vice Premier Hu Chunhua.
The two infrastructure projects continue China’s support for the Philippines’ “Build, Build, Build” program. The first is the Davao City Expressway Project; the second is r the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridge Project. The accords signed by Public Works Secretary Mark Villar and China Vice Commerce Minister Wang Shouweh.
Two months ago, President Duterte himself and China President Xi Jinping signed half a dozen agreements, including loans for a P175-billion Philippine National Railway South Longhaul rail project from Manila to Naga.
After the initial batch of infrastructure projects for Luzon, the second batch is now moving towards the Visayas and Mindanao.
It also appears that despite the general slowdown in international economic growth after 15 months of the trade war between the United States and China, the approval of so many aid projects for the Philippines has continued without let-up.
There is growing hope among many nations that the trade war is about to end, as President Donald Trump announced last week that a trade agreement may be signed at the Asia Pacific Econoimic Conference (APEC) summit meeting in Chile on November 16-17. “I think it will get signed quite easily, hopefully by the summit in Chile where President Xi Jinping and I will both be,” he said. That should set off a new world-wide trade boom as the US is today the world’s top importing nation and China is the world’s top exporting nation.
Next month, November, China will hold its second annual exhibition, the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai. The Philippines should be ready with more proposals to supply a big part of the $30-trilion needs of China in the next 15 years.