Duterte to finalize China deals in second trip to Beijing

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 08 2017 02:54 PM

MANILA - President Rodrigo Duterte hopes to "cement" China's trade and investment pledged during his second visit to Beijing this month, one of his economic managers said Monday.

Rebuilding the country's infrastructure will be high on Duterte's agenda when he attends the Belt and Road Forum next week, Budget Secretary Benjamin Diokno said.

"China has already committed something like $9-billion in financing, so with Japan, $9-billion...We just want to be there to maybe exchange notes, make sure that these commitments are cemented," he said in a phone interview with ANC's Market Edge.

It will mark the President's second time in eight months in the Chinese capital, where he secured $24 billion in trade and investment pledges last October.

Diokno said his office was in talks with the Chinese Ambassador in Manila to discuss possible financing from the China-led Asian Infrastructure and Investment Bank.

Diokno, who just arrived from the Asian Development Bank gathering in Yokohama, is confident the ADB and the AIIB "can co-exist side by side."

"There is estimated requirement, an annual $1.7-billion for power, telecommunication, transport and water. There’s room for financial institutions," he said.

He said the ADB is set to finance 5 water projects in the the Philippines through grants totaling $770-million over the next 3 years, and underscored that every other country has a need for infrastructure.

"In our case, we are ready to spend something like P8- to P9-trillion, so that’s about $170-billion and some of them will be funded by China and Japan. In the case of China, we will co-finance it with AIIB. In the case of Japan, we will co-finance it with ADB," he said.