MANILA – Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said they are hopeful to convene the next trade and investment dialogue with China this year, four years after their last discussion in 2017.
“Even with the pandemic, we’re looking forward to the convening of the 29th Philippines-China Joint Commission on Economic and Technical Cooperation (JCETC) at the soonest possible time this year through videoconference,” Lopez said in his speech at the Association of Philippines-China Understanding forum this week.
Lopez is looking forward to strengthening the economic ties between the Philippines and China as the country recovers from the impacts of the pandemic.
“(W)e hope that you will partner with us to build back better towards a better and brighter post-Covid future. And through the jobs and employment generated by the business and investments you bring in, the Filipino people will also gain a more comfortable and higher quality of life as promised by our President Rodrigo Roa Duterte,” he added.
For the past two years, China has been the second largest investment partner of the country.
Citing data from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, Lopez said project contracts signed by Chinese enterprises in the Philippines rose 27.9 percent over the last three years.
In 2019, newly-signed contracts surged by 102 percent to USD6.4 billion, and reached USD9.59 billion last year.
Meanwhile, Lopez has yet to provide more information on the next JCETC.
Governments of the two countries resumed the JCETC in March 2017 after about five years of hiatus.
During the 28th JCETC held here, Lopez and his Chinese counterpart Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan agreed on a six-year development program for economic and trade cooperation, which served as the framework of economic relations between Manila and Beijing until 2022.
Letters of intent from Chinese investors were also submitted to the DTI during the last joint commission trade dialogue. (PNA)
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