China, Philippines to cooperate on projects worth $5.3 billion

BEIJING • China has agreed to cooperate with the Philippines on 30 projects worth US$3.7 billion (S$5.3 billion) focusing on poverty reduction, the two countries said after a meeting in Beijing yesterday.

Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng announced the deals without giving details, saying it was an "initial batch" of projects that still needed to be finalised, and paperwork still needed to be processed by the banks involved.

Philippines Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez said he had a "very productive" meeting with Mr Gao and that they had discussed large projects in rural areas, as well as some smaller projects.

The deal is the first announcement from a two-day Philippine Cabinet delegation visit to China that comes three months after Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte visited Beijing to pave the way for what he called a new commercial alliance.

Beijing has welcomed Mr Duterte's foreign policy shift away from the United States and towards doing more regional deals for loans and business under his "pro-Filipino" policy.

  • $21b

  • Chinese officials pledged US$15 billion (S$21 billion) of investments during Mr Rodrigo Duterte's visit in October.

Chinese officials pledged US$15 billion of investments during Mr Duterte's visit in October last year, according to the Philippines department of finance.

The Cabinet delegation was also due to meet Vice-Premier Wang Yang at Zhongnanhai, the Beijing complex that houses China's central government, yesterday.

The team includes Mr Duterte's finance, budget, economic, public works and transport secretaries.

In addition to investment deals, the two countries are also slated to discuss the Philippines' chairmanship of Asean this year.

Mr Duterte will make a second visit to China in May for a bilateral summit.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 24, 2017, with the headline 'China, Philippines to cooperate on projects worth $5.3 billion'. Print Edition | Subscribe