PH-China trade soars to $16.4B in Q1

Published April 24, 2021, 7:01 PM

by Genalyn Kabiling

China is committed to expand investment ties with the Philippines following a surge in bilateral trade in the first quarter of the year.

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines with President Duterte (File photo: Chinese embassy/Manila Bulletin)

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian said total trade volume between the two countries reached $16.4 billion in the first quarter of 2021, a 25.6 percent jump from the same period last year.

“Glad to see that the trade between China and the Philippines is continually thriving in the first quarter of 2021 despite the pandemic,” the ambassador said in a Facebook post on April 22.

The Chinese envoy also bared that more Chinese investors are interested to do business in the Philippines. “Such developmental partnership would help promote the Philippines’ post-pandemic recovery,” he said.

He said the Philippine government’s policies, including the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises (CREATE) Act, “motivate Chinese investment in the country.” He cited that the Philippines has become an “ideal investment hub.”

Citing an example, he said Shenzhen Grandsun Electronics Co. Ltd. intends to expand operations at an economic zone in Batangas City.

“Talks are ongoing between different agencies of both governments to make the Philippines an ideal investment destination for many businesses. Recently, the Philippines’ Board of Investments (BOI) met with the Chinese Enterprises Philippine Association (CEPA) to encourage existing Chinese investors to further expand and diversify investments in the Philippines,” he said.

“Multiple investments are set to reinvigorate the Philippine economy from infrastructure, R&D (research and development), high-tech manufacturing, agriculture, and information and technology,” he added.

Chinese investments reinvigorate the Philippines as an ideal investment hub! Glad to see that the trade between China…

Posted by Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian on Wednesday, April 21, 2021

President Duterte signed Republic Act No. 11534 seeking to reduce corporate income taxes and provide incentives to support businesses’ to recover from the pandemic fallout as well as attract foreign investors to the country.

Duterte however vetoed nine items in the legislative measure which he claimed were deemed unfair and redundant.

While bilateral economic relations thrived, the territorial conflict between the two countries has escalated in recent weeks. Manila has protested the lingering stay of Chinese maritime militia ships in the West Philippine Sea and demanded their immediate pullout.

China however ignored the country’s plea to withdraw the vessels, insisting the Julian Felipe Reef, which it calls Niu’e Jiao, is part of its islands in the South China Sea. It also argued that fishing vessels were just taking shelter during rough sea conditions.

In a televised address Monday, April 19, the President refused to confront China over the latest maritime incident but vowed to send naval ships if Beijing drills oil in the disputed waters.