MANILA - The Philippines signed 6 bilateral accords with China for projects under President Rodrigo Duterte's infrastructure program "Build, Build, Build" and other ventures in trade, customs and communications, the finance department said Thursday.
Chinese Vice Premier Hu Chunhua and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III led the signing and exchange of bilateral documents held at the Bureau of the Treasury headquarters in Intramuros, Manila.
“We welcome this high-level engagement, as we underscore the importance of assessing where we stand, while providing added impetus in our efforts to achieve our objectives and deliverables,” Dominguez said after the signing.
Hu noted that bilateral trade between the two countries, based on Chinese data, amounted to $55 billion (at least P2.8 trillion) in 2018 and reached $44 billion (at least P2.2 trillion) in the first three quarters of 2019.
"It is fair to say that against the backdrop of a slowdown in the growth of the global economy, such achievement is not easy to gain," Hu said.
Hu also claimed significant increase in Chinese investments and increasing number of Chinese tourist arrivals in the country, which, he said, all "fully demonstrate the enormous potentials between us and our cooperation."
Four handover certificates were exchanged between Philippine and Chinese officials. They cover the following cooperation agreements:
- Feasibility study for the Davao City Expressway Project conducted by CCCC Highway Consultants Co., Ltd., and funded by grant financing from the Chinese government.
- Feasibility study for the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridge Project, which was also conducted by CCCC Highway Consultants Co., Ltd., and funded by a grant from the Chinese government.
- The Philippine Radio Equipment Project, which provides for the Chinese donation of broadcasting equipment to the Philippine Broadcasting Service of the Presidential Communications Operations Office. The donation includes, among others, live broadcast room equipment, FM broadcast transmitter equipment, and medium wave transmitter equipment.
- The China-Aid Container Testing Equipment, covering the donation of four sets of Mobile Container/ Vehicle Inspection System and two sets of CT Scan Inspection System to the Bureau of Customs.
Two other bilateral documents were signed and exchanged on:
- The implementation of the Marawi Sports Complex and Central Market Projects as part of the reconstruction program for the devastated city of Marawi.
- The protocol on phytosanitary requirements for the export of avocado from the Philippines to China.
The finance department said the two countries so far have signed three loan agreements amounting to at least $493 million (P25.2 million).
The Philippines has also secured a total of $430.82 (P22 million) of grants from China since 2016, the department added.