Heightening China-PH economic relations: friends with benefits?

Features Philippines Nov 23, 2018 at 4:45 pm
DATE WITH HISTORY. Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte walks beside President Xi Jinping as he is welcomed in Malacañang by her father President Rodrigo Duterte. (Malacañang photo)

DATE WITH HISTORY. Davao City Mayor Sara Duterte walks beside President Xi Jinping as he is welcomed in Malacañang by her father President Rodrigo Duterte. (Malacañang photo)

By Rosario Bella Guzman
IBON.org

There is a growing concern about the phenomenal increase of Chinese capital flowing into the Philippine economy. China has recently overtaken the US in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows and trade. In the first semester of 2018, FDI from China amounted to US$175 million as compared with Japan’s US$154 million and US’s US$84 million. From January to September, Philippine exports to China (including Hong Kong) amounted to US$13.9 billion compared with exports to the US worth US$7.8 billion.

Pres. Duterte has also surpassed all previous presidents in terms of his closeness to Beijing and is nearly there in terms of attracting Chinese capital. He has already made three official visits to China, bringing with him a large entourage of businessmen and government officials, and making him the most frequent traveler to China among all Philippine presidents. The Philippine government seeks China’s support for at least Php738 billion worth of infrastructure projects accounting for almost half of the Php1.5 trillion flagship projects under the Duterte administration’s Build, Build, Build. To date, it has already identified Php392 billion worth of projects for China’s consideration.

China’s portfolio in the Philippines includes: the PNR South Long Haul, Mindanao Railway, Subic-Clark Railway, Chico River Pump Irrigation Project, New Centennial Water Source-Kaliwa Dam, Ilocos Norte Irrigation, Pasig-Marikina River bridges, Davao-Samal bridge, Davao River bridges, Davao City Expressway, Panay-Guimaras-Negros bridge, Camarines Sur Expressway, Agus-Pulangui Hydroelectric Power, and the Ambay-Simuai Rio Grande de Mindanao flood control project. China is also building the Philippine National Police, Bureau of Jail Management and Penology and Bureau of Fire Protection command centers in Metro Manila and Davao.

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