MANILA – Investments coming from China grew about 20 times after President Rodrigo Duterte opted for a friendlier approach to Beijing, a trade official claimed Friday.
Investments from China rose to about $1 billion during Duterte’s tenure, from just $50 million, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez told DZMM radio. The country has benefited from the "mutual respect" of the two leaders, he said.
“Base sa data mula noong gumanda ang relasyon natin sa China, siguro 20 times na ‘yung investment na pumasok,” Lopez said.
(Based on the data, since relations eased between China and the Philippines, I think investments coming in have grown 20 times)
Manufacturing, industrial parks, infrastructure funds for energy, power and dam projects are among China’s investments in the country, he said.
China and the Philippines are currently exploring a deal for a $4-billion worth of investment to build the first integrated iron and steel operations in the country, Lopez said.
When asked if the Recto bank incident, where a Chinese vessel allegedly rammed a Filipino fishing boat and where 22 men were left at sea, has an impact on trade relations, Lopez said “walang epekto ‘yun (that has no effect).
The incident is currently under investigations, Lopez said.
Since assuming the presidency, Duterte has chosen to forge closer ties with China, but analysts said Duterte’s overtures to China has also hurt the Philippines long-standing alliance with the United States.
In April, Chinese President Xi Jinping committed to a P7.7-billion (1 billion yuan) grant to the Philippines under its Belt and Road Initiative, Malacañang had said.
Duterte has sought closer ties with Asia’s largest economy even as Manila has yet to settle its maritime dispute with Beijing.
China has refused to recognize a United Nations-backed arbitral ruling that invalidated its sweeping claims over the vast majority of the South China Sea.