The Philippines and China have signed, among others, two bilateral documents on the conduct of feasibility studies for two big-ticket infrastructure projects and two other agreements covering areas of cooperation in trade and customs.
The two feasibility studies for the Davao City Expressway Project and the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridge Project were signed on October 24 after a high-level meeting between the two countries.
Also signed were two agreements for China to donate four sets of mobile container/vehicle inspection system and two sets of CT scan inspection system to the Bureau of Customs (BOC); and on the protocol on phytosanitary requirements for the export of Philippine avocado to China.
In addition, the Philippines and China signed 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. Two bilateral documents were signed as well 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 feasibility studies for the Davao City Expressway Project and the Panay-Guimaras-Negros Island Bridge Project will be conducted by China-based CCCC Highway Consultants Co., Ltd. and funded by grant financing from the Chinese government.
The protocol on phytosanitary requirements, meanwhile, was formulated after the Department of Agriculture’s Bureau of Plant Industry, in coordination with the General Administration of Customs of China, completed the risk assessment and on-site inspection for market access of Philippine fresh avocado for export to China. With China as among the world’s largest consumer markets, this accord is expected to raise incomes and create more jobs in the Philippine farm sector.
“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,” Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, who led Philippine officials during the meeting, said.
Chinese vice premier Hu Chunhua noted that bilateral trade between the two countries, based on Chinese data, amounted to US$55 billion in 2018 and reached $44 billion in the first three quarters of this year.
“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 cited the significant increase in Chinese investments in the Philippines and the increasing number of Chinese tourist arrivals here, which, he said all “fully demonstrate the enormous potentials between us and our cooperation.”
According to the Department of Finance, the Philippines and China since 2016 have so far signed three loan agreements amounting to $493.08 million.
The Philippines has also secured a total of $430.82 million worth of grants from China since 2016.