China becomes the largest trading partner of the Philippines

China becomes the largest trading partner of the Philippines

According to the Russian Satellite Agency, at a Philippine-Japan infrastructure construction cooperation meeting, the Minister of Social and Economic Planning of the Philippines, Ernesto Pe a, said that China will catch up with Japan in providing assistance. He welcomes aid and investment from China.

Recently, the Philippine-Japan Foundation for Infrastructure Development and Economic Cooperation was held in Osaka, Japan. Pe?a told local media during the meeting that “China is committed to providing more funds for more projects”.

He said that the Philippines is open to China’s aid and investment and believes it will help the Philippines’ economic development.

China is the Philippines’ largest trading partner, ahead of Japan and the United States. However, in terms of development assistance, Japan is the largest donor in the Philippines.

During the meeting, officials and entrepreneurs from Japan and the Philippines discussed the implementation of the agreement signed by the leaders of the two countries in Manila in January 2017. At the time, Shinzo Abe promised to provide Philippine with $8.7 billion in aid and investment over the next five years.

According to a national survey conducted by the Philippines polling agency Pulse Asia Research in January, 75% of the respondents trust Japan, higher than the number of people who trust China.

However, in the view of Darya Panalina, an expert of the Russian Oriental Academy of Sciences, this is only a temporary phenomenon. On the one hand, it stems from the influence of the territorial issue of the South China Sea. The agreement reached between China and the Philippines on the South China Sea issue can fundamentally improve their attitude towards China.

On the other hand, Panalina believes that China’s economic assistance to the Philippines also helps: “If China clearly stated that it is willing to invest in the Philippines for Filipinos, it will be correctly understood by the people and they will get their positive response.”

In October 2016, China pledged $24 billion in aid to the Philippines, including $15 billion in investments and $9 billion in loans. There will be 75 major infrastructure and social services projects in the Philippines, 56 of which will be implemented with official assistance from large economies.

When Chinese leaders visited Manila last November, the two sides reached an agreement on China’s participation in these infrastructure projects and brought them into line with the “Belt and Road Initiative”.

According to Pe?a, China and the Philippines have reached an agreement on four financing projects.

China Enterprise plans to build a large-scale integrated metallurgical plant in Mindanao. China’s Heavior Group (HBIS Group), the world’s fourth-largest steel producer, has signed a cooperation agreement with Steel Asia Manufacturing to produce 8 million tons of steel annually in the Philippines. The Panhua Group plans to jointly produce 10 million tons of steel per year with the Philippines. The total investment of Chinese companies in these projects will reach 7.9 billion US dollars.

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